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By James R. Mo 
Cedric Larson 

How the Creel Committee on Public 

Information Mobilized American 
Opinion Toward Winning the World War 

From the collection of the 

z n 
z _ m 


i a 


San Francisco, California 



London: Humphrey Milf or d 
Oxford University Press 





One of Howard Chandler Christy's Memorable Posters 



The Story of 
Tne Committee on Public Information 








CopyrigLt, 1939 
By Princeton University Press 

Composed Ly Princeton University Press 
md printed in tke United States of America 



ON July 6, 1937, trucks rolled up to The National 
Archives in Washington, bringing to their last resting 
place 180 cubic feet of records which for the previous 
sixteen years had been all but lost in the Munitions Building 
basement at 2oth Street and Constitution Avenue. The 
precious cargo represented virtually all that is left of the files 
of the Committee on Public Information, the so-called Creel 
Committee of the World War. Here in these papers is the 
story of America's first "propaganda ministry/' and its dy- 
namic leader, George Creel. 

This book goes to press at a moment when no one can say 
that America will surely avoid facing once more the issues and 
problems of 1917-1919. The lessons of the Creel Committee 
are calling aloud for recognition in this tense year of 1939. 
Therefore, this book attempts whenever possible to consider 
not only the actual mechanics and the work of the CPI but also 
the larger and more gravely urgent questions which are with 
us today or may be tomorrow. 

France and England have become, at least for the time 
being, "totalitarian democracies/' and Americans ask them- 
selves what may happen to this country if it is sucked into the 
maelstrom. As this book attempts to demonstrate, the advance 
of censorship power can be silent and almost unnoticed as 
wave follows wave of patriotic hysteria. If the record of the last 
war is to be taken, American resistance to repressive measures 
may not be great. The question arises whether, in the event 
of a new war, America would feel like indulging in the luxury 
of some "Creel Committee" to stand as buffer between 
military dictatorship and civil life. 

As to the foreign work of the CPI about which little has 
been written and not all of that in entire candor the world 


problem was in many respects so similar to that of today that 
Americans can turn back with the highest profit to these newly 
available records of relations between the United States and 
the Allies in opposition to German militarism. 

From June 30, 1919, until the files were placed in the cus- 
tody of the Archives, they shrank to less than a quarter of their 
former bulk partly because of the ministrations of the ''Use- 
less Papers Committee" and partly for unexplained reasons. 

But the papers that remain hundreds of thousands of 
them provide an historical source of the first importance to 
the American people. Letters, memoranda, cablegrams, 
printed documents, Military and Naval Intelligence reports, 
slides, movie films, posters all these are waiting to tell their 

The Committee was so widespread in its ramifications that 
the collection touches nearly all phases of American and world 
affairs for the years 1917 to 1919. The authors have con- 
sciously restricted themselves to intensive study of these files, 
though fully realizing that words alone did not win the war. 
The "strategic equation" of military language recognizes four 
factors (combat, economic, political, and psychologic) , and 
this book is concerned only with the last and obviously with 
only some of its aspects. A similar study might be oriented 
about the forensic activities of Woodrow Wilson, the work 
of the Military Intelligence Branch, or any of a number of 
other points of interest. But the Committee on Public In- 
formation touched all of these, and a complete understanding 
of its work would be essential to appreciation of other work on 
"the psychologic front." 

At the end of his Propaganda. Technique in the World War, 
Harold D. Lasswell says: "To illuminate the mechanisms of 
propaganda is to reveal the secret springs of social action." 
This book can hope to make no such thoroughgoing contribu- 
tion to human knowledge, but it is in that spirit that it has 
been written. 

As Dr. Lasswell also says: "In the Great Society it is no 
longer possible to fuse the waywardness of individuals in the 


furnace of the war dance; a new and subtler instrument must 
weld thousands and even millions of human beings into one 
amalgamated mass of hate and will and hope. A new flame must 
burn out the canker of dissent and temper the steel of belli- 
cose enthusiasm. The name of this new hammer and anvil of 
social solidarity is propaganda. Talk must take the place of 
drill; print must supplant the dance. War dances live in litera- 
ture and at the fringes of the modern earth; war propaganda 
breathes and fumes in the capitals and provinces of the world." 
And in describing the specific objectives of war propa- 
ganda, Dr. Lasswell gives this list: 

1. To mobilize hatred against the enemy. 

2. To preserve the friendship of allies. 

3. To preserve the friendship and, if possible, to procure 
the cooperation of neutrals. 

4. To demoralize the enemy. 

The reader will see how perfectly the work of the Com- 
mittee on Public Information follows this formula, thus mak- 
ing the record of its activity not only significant as a chapter 
in American history but an especially apt illustration of how 
all war propaganda works. 

As to previous knowledge of the Committee, it appears that, 
except for partial use in two doctoral dissertations, no scholar 
had been through the files until Dr. Frank Hardee Allen of 
the National Archives had completed his conscientious and 
useful classification of the material. Heretofore, the principal 
sources have been the Complete Report of the Chairman of 
the Committee on Public Information and the popular How 
We Advertised America both written by George Creel with 
his customary verve and loyal pride in the organization, but 
far from complete because of hasty and chaotic liquidation of 
the Washington office while Mr. Creel was at the Peace 

Accordingly, much material which George Creel himself 
could not get at in 1919 has been available to the authors, 
and the majority of the documents in this book have never 


been published before. A number of them will necessitate 
reinterpretation of certain statements in George Creel's books 
and in the recollections set down in print by his associates. 

Nevertheless, it is obvious that only a portion of the total 
evidence is presented here, and that nothing less than a small 
library could do justice to the fascinating story of the Creel 
Committee. What the authors have attempted to do is to 
suggest the Committee's implications for democratic govern- 
ment and its lessons for future national emergencies, and, 
through selected examples, to describe its impact on the Amer- 
ican people and world affairs. 

A few of the documents have been used in other form for 
the authors' articles in the Public Opinion Quarterly, the 
Quarterly Journal of Speech, and the Journalism Quarterly. In 
each case we are grateful to the editors for permission to 

The authors realize how futile this undertaking would have 
been without the sincere interest and generous cooperation of 
a large group of individuals including former members of the 
CPI, historians, librarians, and archivists. First and foremost, 
the authors wish to thank the staff of the National Archives 
for patient, helpful and courteous service in making accessible 
the files of the Committee on Public Information and the 
archives of contemporary federal agencies. 

They also wish to express their profound gratitude for the 
many and unsurpassed research facilities afforded them by the 
Library of Congress, including study cubicles, periodicals, 
newspapers, and books of the various collections. 

To the following institutions a debt is acknowledged in the 
writing of this book, either directly or indirectly: the Hoover 
War Library, Stanford University; Carnegie Endowment for 
International Peace and its library, Washington, D.C.; the 
Public Library, Washington, D.C.; Libraries of the Army 
War College and of the Army Industrial College; Division of 
Cultural Relations, Department of State; Signal Corps, 
U.S.A.; Navy Department Recruiting Service; and Princeton 
University Library. 

Participants in the activities described in the following pages 
who have been of assistance, through personal interviews in 
a majority of cases, are: George Creel, Josephus Daniels, Carl 
Byoir, E. S. Rochester, Captain Henry T. Hunt, Wallace 
Irwin, Eugene White, Lee B. Wood, Lawrence Rubel, and 
Judge Charles E. Douglas. 

The writers wish to thank especially Professor Harold D. 
Lasswell for his active interest in this study, and the Princeton 
University Press for its constant understanding and help. For 
unfailing editorial cooperation and advice the authors are 
deeply indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Datus C. Smith, Jr. To 
Miss Bess Glenn of The National Archives the authors are 
indebted for her assistance in indexing this volume. 

Many specific personal acknowledgments appear elsewhere 
in the book. 

The National Archives, 
Washington, D.C. 
September 15, 1939. 

J. R. M. AND C. L. 



Preface vii 

Part I. The Creel Committee and Its Background 

1. The American Mind in Wartime 3 

2. The Coming of Censorship 19 

3. George Creel's Improvisation 48 

Part II. "Holding Fast the Inner Lines" 

4. Fighting with Printer's Ink: Words and Pictures 77 

5. Broadcasting Before Radio: Four-Minute Men 113 

6. A Barrage of Film: Mobilizing the Movies 131 

7. Clio Joins the Colors: Scholars and the Schools 158 

8. The People's War: Labor and Capital 187 

9. Deleting the Hyphen: the Foreign-Born 213 

Part III. Advertising Our Mission Abroad 

10. "The Fight for the Mind of Mankind" 235 

1 1 . Crossing the Enemy Lines 248 

12. In the Land of the Neutrals 263 

13. Educating Our Comrades in Arms 285 

14. The CPI and Russian Chaos 300 

15. Below the Rio Grande 321 

Part IV. The Future 

16. Blueprint for Tomorrow's CPI 337 
Notes 349 
Index 359 




Fight or Buy Bonds frontispiece 

Don't Talk 14 

The Censorship Board 44 

George Creel Shortly Before the War 45 

Three Creel Title Pages 58 

Spies and Lies 64 

Halt the Hun 65 

Army Censorship Order on Tanks 87 

Battle News Manufactured in New York 90 

Stopped, Delayed, or Otherwise Dealt With 91 

Two Phases of the "Official Bulletin" 95 

The German Idea 98 

A Famous Gibson Drawing 103 

Bulletin for Cartoonists 108 

Slide Announcing Four-Minute Speakers 114 

Four-Minute Men Bulletin 119 

The Movie Industry Joins Up 133 

The Fate of "The Caillaux Case" 148 

The Most Famous of the "Hate" Pictures 149 

Four CPI Pamphlets 163 

Bachelor of Atrocities 1 69 

Not Too Academic 174 

National School Service 182 

For Mobilizing the Nation's Schools 184 

Beware of German Traps 192 

Why Does Drifting from Job to Job ... 192 

Let Us Remember Russia 194 
Help from the National Association of Manufacturers 204 

The Hand That Threatens 207 


Dr. Uncle Sam 207 

The Cartoon That Aroused Creel's Anger 212 

Hyphenated Americans Are Asked to Buy 220 

Germans Learn How the War Cam'e to America 227 

An American "Paper Bullet" 250 

To Encourage German Defeatism 254 

Invitation to German Deserters 260 

Special Inducements Were Sometimes Needed 270 

Agent's Report from Santander 273 

Releasing Propaganda-Laden Balloons 296 

"Shoulder Arms" and "America's Answer" 297 

The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy 318 

One Blueprint for Tomorrow's CPI 344 



"It is given to every man either to eat his cake or 
to keep his cake, but it is given to no man to do 
both. A country can choose to be a great military 
power, and to remain in peace times constantly 
upon a military footing, subtracting from educa- 
tion and religion and progress all along the line 
the cost of it; or it can choose to be a great democ- 
racy of hope and peace and progress, and knowing 
well beforehand that if it chooses to be this lat- 
ter, it must muddle and suffer infinitely in men 
and money when war is forced upon it. Each 
nation can choose one of these two things. No- 
body can choose both." Senator John Sharp 
Williams in a letter to George Creel, April 4, 

Chapter i 


'E had gone to war. We had decided to send our boys 
over to France to save democracy. But even as in- 
dignation against Germany had surged higher and 
higher in those last tense days before 3: 12 a.m., April 6, 1917, 
no one could say just what the American people would do after 
their eloquent leader had urged them into war. 

The great majority of Americans, it seemed, wanted to fight, 
but people wondered anxiously how large and how determined 
the minority might be. Minorities are dangerous when the fate 
of civilization is hanging in the balance. Who felt quite easy 
with Senator LaFollette and his "little group of wilful men" 
still in Congress? How could we count on the millions of Ger- 
mans, Austrians, Hungarians, Poles, Russians and other "aliens 
in our midst"? Wasn't there something very disquieting in the 
widely quoted opinion of Dr. Ales Hrdlicka that the Melting 
Pot had failed to melt? How many people still believed there 
was such a thing as being too proud to fight? How many re- 
membered the President's statement that there was no essential 
difference in the expressed war aims of the belligerents? What 
of enemy spies, of whom there were said to be 100,000 or more 
at large, and their allies, the pacifists, Socialists, and labor agita- 
tors? What about the success of Wilson's campaign slogan, 
"He kept us out of war"? What about warnings against en- 
tanglement in Europe's quarrels which still echoed in countless 

And what, above all, about the unknown thousands of 
Americans who might not feel very strongly one way or the 
other but thought Europe was a long way off and might find it 
too much bother to make the sacrifices which a modern war 
demands of the entire population? 


We had pledged "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred 
honor/' but could we fulfill that pledge? When a peaceful 
nation, jealous of individual liberty and proud of its freedom 
from militarism, attempted to mobilize its men, money, re- 
sources, and emotions for one mighty effort, even a rather 
small minority could bring disaster. "Widespread cooperation" 
was not good enough when the nation's life was at stake. Noth- 
ing less than complete solidarity would do. 

America was not unified when war was declared. The neces- 
sary reversal of opinion was too great to be achieved overnight. 
The agonizing question in official Washington, the question 
on which hung the fate of the country's entire wartime effort, 
was whether the inner lines at home would hold as effectively 
as the lines in France. 

The Committee on Public Information was assigned the stag- 
gering task of "holding fast the inner lines." The story of how it 
fulfilled that mission is a dramatic record of vigor, effectiveness, 
and creative imagination. The Committee was America's "prop- 
aganda ministry" during the World War, charged with encour- 
aging and then consolidating the revolution of opinion which 
changed the United States from anti-militaristic democracy to 
an organized war machine. This work touched the private life 
of virtually every man, woman, and child; it reflected the 
thoughts of the American people under the leadership of 
Woodrow Wilson; and it popularized what was for us a new 
idea of the individual's relation to the state. 

President Wilson created the Committee on Public Infor- 
mation by executive order dated April 1 3, 1917, and appointed 
George Creel as civilian chairman, with the Secretaries of State, 
War, and Navy as the other members. Mr. Creel assembled as 
brilliant and talented a group of journalists, scholars, press 
agents, editors, artists, and other manipulators of the symbols 
of public opinion as America had ever seen united for a single 
purpose. It was a gargantuan advertising agency the like of 
which the country had never known, and the breathtaking 
scope of its activities was not to be equalled until the rise of 
totalitarian dictatorships after the war. George Creel, Carl 


Byoir, Edgar Sisson, Harvey O'Higgins, Guy Stanton Ford, 
and their famous associates were literally public relations coun- 
sellors to the United States government, carrying first to the 
citizens of this country and then to those in distant lands the 
ideas which gave motive power to the stupendous undertaking 
of 1917-1918. 

Whether or not one accepts the interpretation of Charles 
Beard, the Nye Committee, Walter Millis, or someone else, it 
is clear that ideas, for whatever reason they were held, took us 
into the war and kept alive the fiercely burning fires of indus- 
trial and military and naval activity. Without the driving force 
of those ideas there would have been no A.E.F. in France, no 
destroyer squadron at Oueenstown, no sub-chasers in the 
Mediterranean, no "Bridge of Ships" spanning the Atlantic, no 
Liberty Bonds, no Draft Law, no food rationing, no coal short- 
age, no seizure of railroads and ammunition plants, no abridg- 
ment of free speech and free press. 

And it was the Committee on Public Information that both 
mobilized and expressed the thoughts and emotions supporting 
these extraordinary dislocations of peaceful life. The story of 
its career holds a strategic place in the history of the war, and it 
presses for current attention as America anxiously considers 
what it will do in the current European War. 

Through every known channel of communication the Com- 
mittee carried straight to the people its message of Wilson's 
idealism, a war to end war, and America to the rescue of civiliza- 
tion. "Fireside chats" via radio did not in that day give national 
leaders the present easy avenue of approach to the family circle, 
but the Committee was nevertheless able to address itself di- 
rectly to the minds and hearts of Americans, however isolated 
they might appear to be from the main stream of martial 

If they included misinformation in their complex of ideas 
about the war, at least it was misinformation shared with them 
by editors and college professors, the country's greatest intellec- 
tual and spiritual leaders, and by public figures in the shadow 
of the White House. History had not yet separated true and false, 


and many things were believed in 1918 that scholars would 
deny today. But there was little expressed difference of opinion. 
It was illegal to express dissent of certain kinds, but for most 
people no law was necessary. The Committee on Public Infor- 
mation had done its work so well that there was a burning 
eagerness to believe, to conform, to feel the exaltation of join- 
ing in a great and selfless enterprise. 

When facts were known or convictions held by any con- 
siderable number of the people they were common to all 
to simple folk on the edge of the prairie, to department store 
clerks and subway guards in the metropolis, to lumbermen 
deep in the forests of the Northwest, and to maintenance men 
set down in squalid huts along a desert right-of-way. Americans 
stood close together in the comradeship of battle in 1917 and 
1918, and it was largely the doing of the Committee on Public 

Consider the case of one mid-western family. They lived on 
a quarter-section of farmland a dozen miles from the railroad, 
telegraph, and postoffice. The nearest daily newspaper was 
published at the far end of the next county, seventy-five miles 
away. No through road passed near their farm, they had seen 
pavement only a few times in their lives, and they had no 
phone. Normally they paid scant attention to public affairs. 
Their only aim in life, so it seemed, was to bring in the golden 

Yet when this simple, uneducated family, far from urban 
centers of information and five thousand miles across sea and 
land from the battlefields of France, sat down to a threshers' 
supper in the summer of 1918 they were more conscious of the 
World War than many more literate people had been of 
any war since fighting began. 

And every item of war news they saw in the county weekly, 
in magazines, or in the city daily picked up occasionally in the 
general store was not merely officially approved information 
but precisely the same kind that millions of their fellow citizens 
were getting at the same moment. Every war story had been 
censored somewhere along the line at the source, in transit, or 


in the newspaper office in accordance with "voluntary" rules 
issued by the CPI. The same mimeograph machines furnished 
most of the Washington news, and the same cable censorship 
had passed all items from abroad. 

Patriotic advertising in all of these papers had been prepared 
by the CPI, and even commercial announcements had a 
patriotic twist which had been suggested by someone in the 
Committee office. Cartoons were those inspired by the Com- 
mittee staff. At the state fair the family viewed war exhibits 
under Committee sponsorship, and the movies at the county 
seat began with one of the Committee's patriotic films and 
paused briefly for oratory by one of the Committees Four- 
Minute Men, who had gained his ideas for the talk from the 
Committee's "suggestions." 

At the township school the children saw war photographs 
issued by the Committee, recited war verse from a Committee 
brochure, learned current events from a Committee newspaper, 
studied war maps with a teacher who had acquired her knowl- 
edge of international politics through the Committee's pam- 
phlets, and when they came home at night bore more literature 
for their parents. 

The postoffice bulletin board was adorned with copies of the 
Committee's Official Bulletin, and posters in the general store 
and on telephone poles up and down the countryside were 
those designed by the Committee's artists, the same pictures 
appearing again and again with the persuasive insistence of 
modern cigarette advertising. Both the children and their 
mother read war stories suggested or actually briefed by the 
Committee. On Sunday the pastor thanked Providence for bless- 
ings that had been listed by one of the Committee's copywrit- 
ers, and prayed for achievement of an objective glowingly de- 
scribed by another. When the Ladies' Aid held its monthly 
meeting, the program was that suggested by the Committee's 
division of women's war work, and the speaker came bearing 
credentials from the Committee's speakers' bureau. He deliv- 
ered an address which he thought was his own but which 
actually paraphrased one of the Committee pamphlets, and his 

talk was illustrated with lantern slides which the Committee 
had prepared. 

Some people in the community were of foreign extraction, 
some unable to read English, but that did not make them 
ineligible to join the crusade against despotism, in fact it 
seemed to single them out for special attention. Their foreign- 
language newspapers carried translations of the same news the 
rest of the community was reading in English, and many of the 
pamphlets were also given in a number of tongues. Some of 
these people belonged to the Friends of German Democracy, 
others to the John Ericsson League of Patriotic Service, the 
American-Hungarian Loyalty League, and so on, according to 
their several countries of origin and almost all of these groups 
were either openly or secretly supported by the CPI. 

Everyone wore the same patriotic buttons, put up the same 
window stickers, passed the same cliches, knew the same ru- 
mors. The wool buyer who visited the various farms in the 
spring had carried a little pamphlet, which the Committee had 
designed especially for travelling men, enabling him to speak 
with the exciting authority of inside information, and everyone 
assumed that the stories must be true because salesmen who 
stopped at the general store brought with them the same 
thrilling narrative. 

Uniformity of testimony is convincing. 

And testimony seemed nearly uniform not only in the heart 
of the Great Plains country but throughout the nation. Dis- 
senters merely intensified the vigor with which their fellow 
citizens presented the prevailing view of the war, of interna- 
tional morality, and of world politics. Scholars will long discuss 
the precise division of "real opinion" in America when war 
was declared, but there can be no uncertainty regarding articu- 
late opinion as it was expressed in newspapers, books, pam- 
phlets, cartoons, and public addresses it was overwhelmingly 
and wholeheartedly on the side of the Allies and in favor of 
our belligerence. 

Search for the reasons behind this has engaged the energy 
of many brilliant investigators, and they offer varying interpre- 

r s i 

tations. But all seem agreed that in the years of our neutrality, 
as the calendar turned through 1915, 1916, and the first fatal 
months of 1917, there was a steady and progressively rapid 
solidifying of opinion around the concepts which President 
Wilson was to present in their familiar aspect only as the 
country stood at the very brink of the abyss. These concepts 
of a "War to End War" and "Make the World Safe for De- 
mocracy" had taken form slowly at first, but as our actual entry 
neared there was a coagulation of opinion, and this process 
was hastened by many forces, such as economic interest, Anglo- 
American friendship, British propaganda, exposure of German 
plots in America, the uplifting sweep of President Wilson's 
eloquence, America's Big Brother complex, the hope of mak- 
ing a better world, and so on. 

Many agencies were at work to bring more and ever more 
American citizens within the magnetic field of the war spirit. 
The National Security League, the American Defense Society, 
the Navy League, General Leonard Wood, many of the lead- 
ers of the League to Enforce Peace all these and many 
more undertook deliberate campaigns for military prepared- 
ness. Most of them also favored war at least a year before our 

Almost from the invasion of Belgium in 1914, a growing 
number of Americans believed that France and England were 
fighting our battle. These people set about converting their 
fellow citizens. Friends of Germany, anglophobes, pacifists, 
and isolationists attempted to check this movement, but they 
lost ground steadily. More and more Americans came to be- 
lieve that defeat of the Allies would mean eventual doom for 
democracy everywhere; many feared actual and immediate 
armed invasion or at least bombardment of North America. 
Special economic interests both nurtured and exploited these 
fears, and every sensational development in Germany's sub- 
marine warfare, in the occupation of Belgium, or in the inept 
German plotting in this country was used by all of the war 
groups the idealists as well as the special interests to gain 

new supporters for their contention that German military 
might must be struck to earth. 

Through it all rang the voice of Woodrow Wilson, a clear 
call to the American people, lifting them to heights of spiritual 
excitement from which they were not to descend until the 
back-to-normalcy days of President Harding. 

When war was declared there was a sharp intensification of 
feeling, a speeding up in the process of unifying opinion, but 
there was not the sharp break with the past that we sometimes 
think of. From August 1914 to April 1917 a host of disparate 
groups had carried the burden of propaganda and education 
which the Committee on Public Information assumed under 
George Creel when war actually came. 

The Committee performed an almost incredible task in the 
marshalling of opinion, in building strong walls of national 
solidarity. But it is important to realize that the Committee 
was no inner clique imposing unwanted views on the general 
public. Scarcely an idea may be found in all the work of the 
CPI that was not held by many Americans before war was 
declared. The Committee was representative of the articulate 
majority in American opinion. 

What the Committee did do was to codify and standardize 
ideas already widely current, and to bring the powerful force 
of the emotions behind them. It is true that the whipping-in of 
stragglers through application of social pressure held a vitally 
important place in the work, but the greatest effort was di- 
rected toward vitalizing convictions already held and toward 
developing the will to fight for ideas already familiar. 

The job was to keep the Wilson program before the people 
and to make it seem like something worth dying for. 

With the CPI viewed in this light, George Creel's selection 
for the post of chairman was natural. He had been a Wilson 
man "before 1912"; for years he had expressed in the language 
of front-page journalism very much the same sort of thing that 
President Wilson expressed in the language of the library and 
the pulpit. Mr. Creel has given the authors his own report 
on the reasons for his selection: 

[ 10] 

"As editor of the RocJcy Mountain News in Denver, I advo- 
cated Woodrow Wilson's nomination as early as 1911, and 
had correspondence with him throughout his first adminis- 
tration. Going to New York in 1913, I played a rather im- 
portant part in the 1916 campaign, contributing syndicated 
articles to the press and also publishing Wilson and the Issues. 
After the election he asked me to come to Washington as a 
member of his official family, but my finances would not per- 
mit acceptance of the offer. When we entered the war on April 
6, 1917, and the papers carried the news that some rigid form 
of censorship would be adopted, I wrote a letter of protest to 
the President in which I explained to him that the need was 
for expression not repression, and urged a campaign that would 
carry our war aims and peace terms not only to the United 
States, but to every neutral country, and also in England, 
France, and Italy. As for censorship, I insisted that all proper 
needs could be met by some voluntary methods. He sent for 
me and after approving my proposal, drafted me to act as active 
chairman. No other person was considered for the place/' 

Mr. Creel suggests here not only his political kinship with 
Wilson but also his determination to carry out the work of the 
CPI along Wilsonian lines by bold appeal to the people. 

Two methods of handling public opinion were available to 
the United States. An ironclad censorship could be estab- 
lished, with a great bureaucracy attempting to judge the "loy- 
alty" of every item in every newspaper, every word in every 
conversation to probe, in fact, into the innermost thoughts of 
every citizen. On the other hand, a policy could be adopted 
whereby the hand of censorship was held back but the chan- 
nels of communication were literally choked with official, ap- 
proved news and opinion, leaving little freeway for rumor or 
disloyal reports. 

George Creel took the affirmative line. 

Consistently to the end of the war, he placed his faith in a 
censorship which was at least technically voluntary. The 
newspapers accepted this censorship, though they also con- 
tributed in full measure the expected criticism of Mr. Creel 

himself. He was one of the most disliked and traduced mem- 
bers of the national government while the war was in progress, 
and the 1918 caricature of him carries over to the present day. 

This picture is unfair, as the reader will discover, but Mr. 
Creel was in a sense hoist with his own petard. For he, more 
than any other one man aside from the President, helped to 
produce the 1917 temper in which the tossing about of sym- 
bols became a substitute for an intellectual transaction, and 
in which people thought together and thought in stereotypes. 

Truth, George Creel knew, is the first casualty in war, but 
he shared with his chief and with millions of their fellow citi- 
zens the hope that "this war will be different." As the story 
of the CPI unfolds it will be clear in how many ways George 
Creel attempted to protect truth. But the emotional climate 
in which Ora Buffington, a Pennsylvania attorney, urged the 
CPI to import for public exhibition some of the Belgian chil- 
dren whose hands had been cut off was the very climate that 
Mr. Creel had to maintain for the support of President Wil- 
son's most ennobling political ideals. 

The CPI hoped that it could direct the nation's emotional 
energy into channels of constructive patriotism, not hysteria, 
but it was not always successful. Though only too well aware 
of how hysteria begins and grows, the Committee was forced 
to deal constantly with the material of panic, fear, and in- 

Preposterous or frightening evidences of "national jitters" 
were continually received. 

Joseph P. Tumulty, the President's secretary, had been im- 
prisoned as a German spy ... he had been shot. . . . 

Five Americans, former prisoners of war with their tongues 
cut out, were in a hospital ship lying in the Potomac. . . . 

The assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Shipping Board 
protested against the cover of the Hog Island News, a ship- 
builder's house organ, which showed a huge porker carrying 
an American flag he thought it might be used for German 
propaganda. . . . 

Newspapers reported a TEUTON PLAN TO TORTURE 

U-boat captains were believed to have landed on the At- 
lantic Coast and then to have made their way inland, poison- 
ing wells en route. . . . 

Suspected pro-Germans were lynched. . . . 

A report was syndicated that a man in a training camp 
near Chillicothe, Ohio, had never received any mail. Shortly 
after this publication, he received 1,200 letters, nineteen 
special-delivery messages, and fifty-four packages. . . . "As it 

happens/ 7 the tired postmaster reported to Washington, " 

can neither read or write. He is not just right and was not 
accepted by the army but refuses to leave. . . ." 

All of this was socially unwholesome. It was also dangerous. 
During the Spanish-American War, as at other times, civilian 
hysteria had forced the United States to change its disposition 
of forces and threatened strategical plans. But the CPI was 
caught in a dilemma. It was forced to return again and again 
to the methods of arousing opinion which brought the very 
atmosphere of hate and fear which might endanger national 
safety and was surely incompatible with the consecrated mis- 
sion on which President Wilson was leading the country. 

George Creel has been charged with being too eager, too 
impetuous and flamboyant. Each of these adjectives is properly 
applied to him. Evidence is abundant, however, that countless 
citizens wished public opinion to be whipped to higher and 
higher fury. The independent patriotic groups such as the 
National Security League, perhaps jealous of government in- 
terference with private enterprise, frequently charged the CPI 
with malingering. Even more sober observers feared public 
apathy and called ever and again for more dramatic action. 

In August 1917, for instance, Grosvenor Clarkson, secretary 
(later director) of the Council of National Defense, wrote 
to a number of prominent men, calling attention to lack of 
war enthusiasm and asking their opinions. Clarkson sent copies 
of the replies to Creel. 

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'The Mood for Spy Hunts" 
A Poster Displayed in Boston by a Military Intelligence Office 


Roy W. Howard of the Scripps papers and United Press, 
who had just returned from the Pacific Coast, concurred in 
Clarkson's judgment and said: "This weakness must be rem- 
edied before the nation will go to war with its heart as well as 
its hands and feet." Frederick Dixon, editor of the Christian 
Science Monitor: "The country is not awake . . . invaluable 
time is being wasted." Frank Cobb, editor of the New York 
World: "There are plenty of soap-boxes and some of them 
might well be occupied by men who believe in the United 
States and in the justice of its cause." R. J. Cuddihy, treas- 
urer of Funk and Wagnalls: "The churches of the country 
should be counted on to reach the spiritual and emotional side 
of our people, and . . . this is the side that must be fully 

Typical of many letters that came to Creel through all the 
months of the war was one from S. H. Church, president of 
Carnegie Institute of Technology. In January 1918 he wrote 
that the CPI must emphasize "in season and out of season, the 
fact that we are engaged in a bloody and remorseless war with 
the most pitiless and despicable nation that has ever attacked 
the peace and dignity of civilization, and that this high note 
of raging battle ought to be sounded throughout the world 
until we shall receive a definite assurance that peace is within 
our grasp and upon our own terms." 

The "high note of raging battle," however, produced not 
only the will to fight Germany but also the mood for spy 
hunts. Spies there undoubtedly were, but their number was 
infinitesimal compared with the excitement they caused. After 
the war John Lord O'Brian, head of the War-Emergency Divi- 
sion of the Department of Justice, said that "No other one 
cause contributed so much to the oppression of innocent men 
as the systematic and indiscriminate agitation against what 
was claimed to be an all-pervasive system of German espio- 
nage." Captain Henry T. Hunt, head of the Military Intelli- 
gence counter-espionage section during the war, has told the 
authors that in addition to unfounded spy stories innocently 

launched there were many started with the apparent object of 
removing or inconveniencing political, business, or social 
rivals. As an illustration of the complexity of charges and 
counter-charges, he reports that on one occasion two of his 
own men were taken into custody by the Department of Jus- 
tice, while seeking to determine the loyalty of the headwaiter 
in a Washington hotel. 

The nervousness illustrated by this incident was exploited 
and turned to devious uses. Professor S. H. Clark of the De : 
partment of Public Speaking at the University of Chicago, 
for instance, wrote to Creel: "Many public men and many of 
our prominent newspapers who have always bitterly fought 
socialism, the I.W.W/s, and even labor unions, are taking ad- 
vantage of the present crisis in an effort not purely patriotic 
to squelch all of these more or less radical organizations with- 
out regard to the effect upon the future of our country, to 
say nothing of the effect in the present war." 

One man who emphatically agreed with this was the famous 
I.W.W. agitator, Big Bill Haywood, who wrote to Creel from 
Cook County Jail: "Perhaps some day when the pendulum 
swings back, when a war-mad world can assume something of 
a normal attitude of thought, when the ideas and ideals of 
a New Freedom will not be misinterpreted, I may ask you to 
do something for us. I still hate autocracy and Russian Oli- 
garchy from the bottom of my heart, but even more the In- 
dustrial Oligarchy so rapidly developing in this country 
which must be fought after the World War if democracy is 
to endure." 

From the very opposite end of the social and economic 
scale from Thomas W. Lamont, the Morgan partner who 
had just purchased the New Yorlc Evening Post Creel re- 
ceived yet another letter showing appreciation of what hap- 
pens in wartime: "There is altogether too great a tendency 
to call people names just because they happen to talk intel- 
ligently on certain topics. I have heard people dubbed Social- 
ists just because they happened to be students of sociology 

[ 16] 

and, looking forward, were convinced that in the future labor 
would have to have an even squarer deal than it has had in 
the past. I have heard other people called pro-Germans just 
because they expressed the hope that the war would not last 
forever. ... I think we are apt, in time of war, to fall into a 
mood of more or less intolerance, if the other fellow doesn't 
agree with us." 

But perhaps the most interesting of all the letters which 
came to George Creel on this subject was that from the 
wealthy but radical lawyer and publicist, Amos Pinchot, whose 
political position lay somewhere between Big Bill Haywood 
and Thomas Lamont. He wrote: 

"Has Wilson changed? Is he going back on himself and on 
us? Has he seen a new vision of a world peace, founded on 
things un-American, based on old-world imperialist aggression, 
which he so lately condemned? Have we got to die tomorrow 
for principles that yesterday the President told us were wrong? 

"What has changed Wilson? Who has put it over on him? 

"We have got to remember that before we went into the 
war, the Administration, and the liberal press, the Scripps 
papers, the Cloverleaf syndicate, the N.E.A., and even much 
of the reactionary press, for two solid years carried on an anti- 
war propaganda. They were pro-Ally, but they said that we 
had no business in it. At the end of this period the President 
went to the country on the issue that he kept us out of war 
and won. . . . 

"Considering our approaches to the war, the President's 
own attitude, his distinct downright repudiation of the Allies' 
annexation policies, the anti-imperialist feeling in America, it 
seems fairly evident that even for Wilson the task of swinging 
the public into line for the present war aims of the Allies would 
be too big a task, even if it were a right and necessary course. 

"If the President attempts it he will fail. He will fall as an 
American leader, and fall farther and harder than any modern 
liberal statesman/' 

There is no evidence of a reply from Creel, but from many 
other records we know what he would have said. He would 


have granted the change in the President's attitude toward 
the war, granted the perils of entanglement in European poli- 
tics, granted the dangers to democracy which militarism had 
brought to this country. But he would have said that we were 
fighting not for Europe's war aims but for Wilson's, and that 
the hope of a new world, of universal democracy, and of per- 
manent peace made any temporary concessions richly jus- 

Creel did not, however, push from his mind the knowledge 
of how "patriotism" was being turned to selfish uses, and how 
much work remained to be done for democracy at home. In 
March 1918 he wrote to Joseph E. Davis: "I shall support 
every necessary measure directed to the supreme end of de- 
feating ... the unholy combination of autocracy, militarism, 
and predatory capitalism which rules Germany and threatens 
liberty and self-government everywhere. . . . [But] I ask and 
expect only support of those who believe that for the sake of 
political liberty and social progress, America must win this 
war while it consolidates at home every position won from 
the forces of reaction and political bigotry." 

George Creel, as Woodrow Wilson, faced the tragic dilem- 
ma of a war on behalf of democracy. In the record of the Com- 
mittee on Public Information one may find evidence of their 
success or lack of success in meeting it. This book can present 
only part of the evidence, but the files of the CPI contain some 
of the most important material of American history. For it is 
not only George Creel that is to be judged but the entire na- 
tional policy of a democracy at war. The problem boils down 
to this: Can any wartime compromise be "temporary"? Can 
modern war, a war of populations, be waged without perma- 
nent loss of some of the things for which America entered 
the World War in 1917? 

Every observer will have his own answer to these questions, 
but no one can afford to evade them. 


Chapter 2 

A MERICA went under censorship during the World War 

/\ without realizing it. Debate was energetic and inspiring 
~L -Awhile it lasted, but after the opponents of censorship 
had won a single major engagement in the campaign they 
thought the enemy had retired from the field. They were 
wrong. The enemy quietly occupied the abandoned positions 
and then, at a convenient opportunity, swarmed into defense- 
less territory behind the lines. 

An account of these maneuvers is essential to an appreci- 
ation of the CPI, for though the Committee's chief function 
was to distribute affirmative propaganda it was likewise in- 
timately concerned with the negative phases of public opinion 
management with suppression of speech or publication inimi- 
cal to the doctrines for which America believed it was fighting. 
The fact that the censorship power was employed with mod- 
eration does not detract from its significance in American his- 
tory. If the Administration had wished, it might have imposed 
an almost complete censorship on the utterances and publi- 
cations of all Americans during the war. 

"If the Administration had wished" really means "if George 
Creel had wished," for in censorship as in affirmative propa- 
ganda he held the key. Knowledge of the political and emo- 
tional background of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, thus 
sharpens understanding of the later work of the CPI. 

As interpreted by the courts, the Espionage Act pressed hard 
against the limits of constitutionality set by the First Amend- 
ment. Minority critics asserted in 1918, as more will grant 
today, that in its final form the act violated the guaranty of 
free speech and free press established in the Bill of Rights, but 

a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in 1919 denied 
the claim. 

Even with the Espionage Act on the books, as well as the 
later Trading-with-the-Enemy Act of October 6, 1917, and 
the so-called "Sedition Act" of May 16, 1918, the Committee 
on Public Information lacked the authority for censorship 
enforcement, as that power rested with the Department of 
Justice and the Post Office Department. But both through 
official liaison and through Mr. Creel's persuasive powers of 
personal influence the Committee held a position of strategic 
importance. Mr. Creel was officially a member of the Censor- 
ship Board, and his contact with the Department of Justice 
was continuous. He enjoyed the fullest cooperation of Mili- 
tary Intelligence, Naval Intelligence, and of certain Post Office 
officials. R. L. Maddox, chairman of the Censorship Board, 
was in the most intimate relationship to Mr. Creel throughout 
the period, and the intelligence branches of the two fighting 
arms looked to the CPI for leadership and direction in many 
matters pertaining to civilian censorship. Contact with gov- 
ernment offices gave still other means of direct and indirect 
pressure, all supported by law. 

Without specific powers of enforcement, the CPI thus 
enjoyed censorship power which was tantamount to direct 
legal force, although this was energetically denied by the 
Committee during the war. The CPI insisted that it was merely 
an intermediary between law-enforcement bodies and the 
people. The Committee's representatives and agents did not 
make arrests not often did they even threaten but any indi- 
vidual or publication failing to play the game of secrecy and 
patriotism according to wartime standards could be handed 
over to one of the other agencies for appropriate action. 

Authority for this action came in the first place from the 
history-making Espionage Act. The law went on the books 
practically without public notice, and with the majority of the 
public ignorant of the authority for civilian censorship which 
it contained. Weeks of violent debate preceded this anticlimax, 
however, and the story is revealing both for an understanding 


of the CPI and for an appreciation of the issue which will con- 
front America in the event of our participation in another war. 

On February 5, 1917, four days after Germany had resumed 
unrestricted submarine warfare and two days after President 
Wilson electrified America by telling a joint session of Con- 
gress that passports had been handed to Ambassador von 
Bernstorff, a bill was introduced in the House and Senate "to 
define and punish espionage." This particular bill was to die 
with the lame duck session of the 64th Congress on March 4, 
but it was destined to make history through its legacy to the 
new session. 

This measure introduced in February 1917 is worth atten- 
tion for its hint of coming innovation in American law and for 
its indication of how the lines of debate were to be drawn when 
we were actually at war. 

At the beginning of 1917 America had no law on the books 
permitting the federal government to interfere seriously with 
the rights of free speech and free press. True, there was a 191 1 
statute forbidding improper acquisition and communication of 
information relating to facilities of national defense, and this 
was useful in dealing with actual enemy agents. But there were 
no means of controlling the utterances of people who might 
not be actual spies or traitors but nevertheless were regarded as 
extremely dangerous in the existing national emergency paci- 
fists, Socialists, German-Americans reluctant to take up arms 
against the Fatherland, agitators for Irish independence, and 
plain well-meaning people who merely liked to indulge in the 
traditional American activity of belaboring the "guv'ment." 

The First Amendment of the Constitution says that Con- 
gress shall make no law "abridging the freedom of speech or of 
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and 
to petition the government for a redress of grievances/' But if 
these popular rights should be granted without any let or hin- 
drance whatsoever, it appeared to many people that the na- 
tional safety would be imperilled. 

More than a century earlier America had attempted regi- 
mentation of opinion through the famous Sedition Act of 

1798? but the measure had been employed for political per- 
secution, helping to bring about the defiant Virginia and 
Kentucky Resolutions, and in its unpopularity had been a 
factor in the Federalist overturn of 1800. The Sedition Act 
expired automatically in 1801, and now, as America moved 
inexorably toward a new war in the opening months of 1917, 
there were no legal means of suppressing speech or publication 
if the offending act fell much short of out-and-out trading in 
military secrets. Before America was finished with the World 
War, new laws would come into being which in certain re- 
spects exceeded in severity the hated measure of 1798. And the 
first steps were taken in this direction while we were still at 

On February 5, 1917, Lee S. Overman, Democrat of North 
Carolina, introduced in the Senate, and Edwin Yates Webb, 
also a Democrat of North Carolina and chairman of the House 
Judiciary Committee, introduced in the House, similar bills "to 
define and punish espionage." One purpose was to modernize 
the phraseology of the 1911 statute (for instance to cover 
invisible writing and spying from airplanes) , but in sections 
2 and 3 may be found the first shadowy suggestion of a new 
kind of restriction new at least since an angry populace had 
swept the Federalists from office in 1800 and had allowed the 
Sedition Act of 1798 to die an unmourned death. 

In the Webb-Overman bill as originally introduced life 
imprisonment was ordered for anyone who in wartime and 
without lawful authority should "collect, record, publish, or 
communicate" certain broadly defined types of military infor- 
mation "of such a nature as is calculated to be, or might be, 
directly or indirectly, useful to the enemy." And, more im- 
portant, the same drastic penalty was to pay for the crime of 
wartime communication or publication of false reports or 
statements, "or reports or statements likely or intended to 
cause disaffection in, or to interfere with the success of, the 
military or naval forces of the United States." 

Senator Overman's bill was referred to his own committee, 
and on February 8 was reported out with "amendments," 


which consisted of thirteen other bills relating to passports, 
internment, neutrality, and other problems arising out of 
America's tense relations with Germany. This omnibus mea- 
sure passed the Senate February 20, and two days later hearings 
were held by the House Judiciary Committee. 

Norman Thomas, pastor of the East Harlem Church, New 
York, appeared before the committee on behalf of the Ameri- 
can Union Against Militarism, which represented a consider- 
able body of Socialist and pacifist opinion. Mr. Thomas was 
not impressed with the assurance, frequently given by sup- 
porters of the bill, that sweeping powers should be granted but 
that they would not be employed against essentially loyal citi- 
zens. He said: "It [the bill] certainly could be used to muzzle 
such conscientious objectors as the Quakers and other good 
souls, although treason would be the last thing to enter their 

Criticism was also offered by Dr. Robert L. Hale, instructor 
in economics at Columbia University; by John D. Moore, 
national secretary of the Friends of Irish Freedom; and by 
Arthur E. Holder, former president of the Iowa State Federa- 
tion of Labor and at the time Washington lobbyist of the 
American Federation of Labor. Charles T. Halloran quoted 
newspaper interviews with the President's secretary, Joseph P. 
Tumulty, in an attempt to persuade Congressmen that this 
was not an "Administration bill" i.e. that they could oppose 
or amend it without fearing White House reprisals. Chairman 
Webb's reply made it clear that although amendment was 
expected the Department of Justice was behind the bill. 

Nevertheless, the Webb-Overman bill, though passed in the 
Senate, did not come to a vote in the House. As the old Con- 
gress ended at noon on March 4 the question of censorship and 
control of opinion was still unsettled. 

On April 2, the very day on which President Wilson deliv- 
ered his War Message to the joint session of the 65th Congress, 
Representative Webb introduced a new bill which, after nine 
and a half weeks of public and legislative debate and a check- 
ered career of amendment and counter-amendment, became 

the law of the land. An identical measure was introduced in 
the Senate by Charles A. Culberson, Democrat of Texas and 
chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee of which Senator 
Overman was one of the most prominent and active members. 
The purpose was "To punish acts of interference with the for- 
eign relations, the neutrality, and the foreign commerce of the 
United States; to punish espionage, and better to enforce the 
criminal laws of the United States; and for other purposes/' 

This new bill received public notice far exceeding that given 
to the earlier measure, which had received no discriminating 
public attention. That earlier bill, in the popular view, was 
merely an improved means of dealing with the 100,000 Ger- 
man spies who Senator Overman and many other people said 
were honeycombing our country, engaging in sabotage, espio- 
nage, and insidious propaganda. It occurred to few, apparently, 
that the bill might have any effect on the speech or publication 
of loyal American citizens. When the Literary Digest presented 
in its issue of March 10 a summary of press opinion of that 
earlier bill the caption was "To Make Us Spy-Proof and Bomb- 
Proof and there was scarcely a suggestion of opposition to it. 
The Chicago Tribune granted that there might be a great deal 
of nonsense in the talk of espionage, but only the New York 
Evening Post, owned by the liberal pacifist, Oswald Garrison 
Villard, was quoted as stressing the importance of freedom to 
criticize. In fact, the Digest said, the Post's Washington corre- 
spondent (presumably Mr. Villard himself) reported that the 
American Union Against Militarism was the only organization 
opposing the bill. 

There is reason to believe that the new Espionage Bill would 
have encountered even less opposition than the old one if it 
had not been for a new and direct threat to the freedom of the 
press. This threat, at one time placed in section 4, Title I, of 
the bill, was opposed by natural newspaper desire for indepen- 
dence, but was advanced by a mounting tide of public ex- 

Patriotic hysteria had been rising during March, and both 
individuals and organizations which formerly had opposed 

either militarism or certain militaristic threats to traditional 
American procedure came to realize that in war even a "Peo- 
ple's War" normal civil liberties must be curtailed. In some 
cases the former dissenters became convinced of the justice of 
the American cause; in others it was a hasty and undignified 
scramble for the bandwagon. But in either event uniformity of 
opinion was becoming more fashionable. 

Back as early as the first week in February, immediately fol- 
lowing the dismissal of Ambassador von Bernstorff, German- 
American organizations had commenced their eager profes- 
sions of loyalty to the United States, and in the middle of the 
month it was reported that 50,000 citizenship applications had 
been received in a single day. This movement continued, and 
C. J. Hexamer, president of the German-American National 
Alliance, pledged the support of his suspected organization if 
war should come, and was reported (inaccurately) to be form- 
ing German-American regiments to take the field against the 
Fatherland. Immediately after the declaration of war the Liter- 
ary Digest reported that "unequivocal loyalty is the keynote of 
articles in the German-American press/' though a certain hesi- 
tancy in discussing the President's War Message was noted in 
some cases. 

The great wartime schism in the ranks of the Socialists did 
not occur until the middle of April, but all during March the 
press had carried stories reporting the conversion of individual 
Socialists who previously had opposed entrance into what they 
regarded as an imperialist war. Certain pacifist groups, notably 
the flying squadron of speakers led by Chancellor-Emeritus 
David Starr Jordan of Stanford University, continued their 
energetic but futile efforts to stem the tide of war, and the 
Emergency Peace Federation was frequently in the news. But 
heckling and sometimes mob violence were making the profes- 
sion of pacifism more and more uncomfortable, at the same 
time that many onetime pacifists, through change of convic- 
tion, had "joined up" for the duration of the war, announcing 
that the surest way to peace lay through military victory for the 
just cause of the Allies. 

Labor groups, many of which were eyed with suspicion be- 
cause of their supposed disinclination to prosecute the "Capi- 
talists' War/' as agitators called it, were similarly eager to dis- 
play their patriotism. The four Railroad Brotherhoods an- 
nounced on March 10 that their threatened strike would be 
called off in the event of war. 

Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University 
and director of the Carnegie Endowment for International 
Peace, became an advocate of the use of military force, and a 
few weeks later the Endowment suspended its normal activities 
and turned over its facilities and personnel to the government. 
The Committee on Public Information, incidentally, was one 
of the beneficiaries, receiving use of the Endowment's build- 
ing rent free. 

Even the churches joined the procession, making ready to 
effect their famous compromise between warfare and religion. 
The Literary Digest reported that on March 1 1, at the sugges- 
tion of the New York Federation of Churches, "War Sunday" 
was celebrated. The magazine said, "In flag-draped pulpits the 
pastors of New York, men of peace, sounded the call to arms." 

The day before this warlike sabbath, a "council of war" was 
reported to have included such a strange assortment as Theo- 
dore Roosevelt, J. P. Morgan, and Billy Sunday, the diversity 
of their interests and attributes suggesting the importance of 
national solidarity. 

All of these and countless other indications that patriotic 
Americans were managing to forget minor differences and set 
aside petty insistence on individual rights helped make the 
ideas of the Espionage Bill seem reasonable and necessary. But 
possibly the most significant event in the chain of circum- 
stances facilitating public acceptance of the Espionage Bill in 
the new Congress was a notorious Senate filibuster in the old 
one. The filibuster was concerned with "armed neutrality," not 
censorship, but it takes an important place in the pattern of 
1917 opinion relating to free speech. 

On February 26 President Wilson asked Congress for 
authority to arm merchant ships for self-defense against sub- 


marines; he said he could order this without seeking legislative 
permission, but he wished to feel that Congress was behind him 
"in whatever it may become necessary for me to do/' The 
Armed Ship Bill passed the House by the overwhelming vote 
of 403-13. But in the Senate it was talked to death. Senator 
Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., of Wisconsin led the filibuster. 
Talking against time, he and his handful of associates pre- 
vented passage by prolonging debate from the morning of 
February 28 until noon on March 4, when the 64th Congress 
came to an end. And this was in spite of the fact that Senator 
Hitchcock presented a statement of seventy-six Senators (more 
than three-fourths of the total) that they would approve the 
measure if only it could be brought to a vote. 

President Wilson angrily called the filibusterers "a little 
group of wilful men, representing no opinion but their own/' 
and said that they had "rendered the great government of the 
United States helpless and contemptible/ 7 On March 9 the 
President ordered the arming of the ships anyway, and the 
eleven men who had opposed this act of self-defense were 
subjected to bitter denunciation. Charges of treason were 
freely passed, and roar upon roar of approval greeted the Rev. 
Lyman P. Abbott when, in a patriotic mass-meeting sponsored 
in New York by the American Rights League, he called the 
eleven Senators "Germany's allies/' 

The general press was nearly unanimous in its excoriation of 
the offenders, and several state legislatures passed resolutions of 
rebuke. When Senator Stone (who admitted opposition but 
denied that he had engaged in filibuster) said "Many telegrams 
of applause have reached me," the New YorJc Sun retorted, 
"No doubt, but were they written in English?" 

On March 8 the Senate, by a 76-3 count, adopted cloture, 
providing that debate might be limited by a two-thirds vote. A 
chorus of approval came from the press. Means had been found 
to close the mouths of noisy dissenters. 

Limitation of parliamentary debate is obviously very differ- 
ent from general censorship, but to the average American in 
1917 it must have seemed all of a piece: the "thwarting of the 

national will" by a few long-winded orators illustrated the 
danger of allowing unlimited free speech, whether within or 
without the walls of Congress. 

So much of America's articulate public opinion was thus 
friendly to the general idea of the espionage legislation- 
seemed, in fact, reconciled to its most sternly repressive mea- 
suresthat the new bill, introduced after the President's War 
Message, might easily have become enacted into law without 
protest if it had not been for newspaper alarm at indications of 
a coming press censorship. Administrative departments of the 
government were already withholding information which the 
press thought it should have. On April 6 President Wilson 
authorized seizure of wireless establishments, and four days 
later Secretary of the Navy Daniels issued an appeal for volun- 
tary censorship on news of ship movements. The newspapers 
of April 1 5 carried the story of establishment of the CPI which, 
as often as not, was regarded as merely a censorship bureau. 

We noted in Chapter I how George Creel was dismayed at 
reports of the coming censorship. He was far from being the 
only journalist similarly alarmed. Editor & Publisher, most in- 
fluential journal of the press world, said editorially in its issue 
of April 7: "It is becoming obvious that if the freedom of the 
press to usefully serve the nation is to be preserved, its preser- 
vation must be the work of the newspapermen themselves. The 
constitutional guarantee seems to weigh very lightly with some 
of our public servants/' 

Not everyone was so uncompromising, as many people be- 
lieved censorship of some sort was inevitable and that the im- 
portant thing was to ensure its intelligent administration. Thus 
the April 14 issue of Editor & Publisher carried a leading 
article by Frederick Roy Martin, assistant general manager of 
the Associated Press, urging that a "newspaperman should 
direct censorship," and the American Association of Teachers 
of Journalism adopted a resolution of the same import. 

Memorials from individual editors and publishers and from 
various groups continued to reach Congress, however, and the 
American Newspaper Publishers Association adopted a reso- 

lution asserting that "the proposed legislation strikes at the 
fundamental rights of the people, not only assailing their free- 
dom of speech but also seeking to deprive them of the means 
of forming intelligent opinion. ... Its possible consequences 
in restricting liberty of the press are full of peril to free insti- 

The reason for this suddenly increased solicitude for the 
First Amendment may be found in the fact that the part of this 
bill dealing specifically with espionage, contained proposed 
legislation in sections 3 and 4, which newspapers interpreted 
as a potential threat to the freedom of the press. When a 
powerful minority in the Senate took the cue from the Ad- 
ministration that section 4 was too mild, and more than a 
score of attempts were made to amend it, a general hue and 
cry of alarm was raised in the press of the nation about its 

These amendments would be too detailed to examine indi- 
vidually, but one or two typical ones may be noticed. On April 
19, Senator Cummins introduced an amendment which pro- 
vided that the President was authorized to prescribe and 
promulgate reasonable rules and regulations "not abridging 
the freedom of speech or of the press, for the purpose of pre- 
venting the disclosure to the public, and thereby to the 
enemy" of movements of the nation's armed forces, or plans 
of military or naval operations. A more drastic proposal was 
offered by Senator Kirby on May 9: "A press censorship is 
hereby established, for the period of the war, with the Secre- 
taries of the Navy and War as directors thereof." They were 
empowered either jointly or singly to issue a written order and 
"summarily suspend' for thirty days any newspaper or maga- 
zine giving vital and prohibited military information. 

The newspapers of course fought this sort of thing tooth 
and nail but paradoxically enough in June when the country 
became enveloped in the whirl and excitement of the First 
Liberty Loan and the Draft, neither the papers nor the read- 
ers seemed to know or care about the passage of the espionage 
legislation which became law on the i jth of that month. The 

outline of the tortuous course of this bill will be traced in the 
remaining pages of this chapter. 

At the hearings before the House Judiciary Committee on 
April 12, the opponents of the bill were not of the sort 
to win the approval of patriotic Americans. They included 
Harry Weinberger of the Free-Speech League of America; 
Gilbert E. Roe, onetime legal associate of Senator LaFollette; 
Arthur E. Holder, the A.F. of L. lobbyist; Jane Addams, presi- 
dent of the Women's Peace Party of America; John Reed, 
identified in the press only as "war correspondent"; and 
John D. Moore, secretary of the Friends of Irish Freedom. 

Professor Horace A. Eaton, chairman of the English Depart- 
ment at Syracuse University, told the Committee: "I am won- 
dering whether it would not be possible, since some of you gen- 
tlemen have already said so, to insert in the bill a definite 
phrase . . . saying that it shall in no way infringe upon the civil 
rights granted to citizens of the United States under the Con- 
stitution/' And Emily Green Balch, professor of civics at 
Wellesley College and in future years to become the founder 
of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 
put the same thought more bluntly: "I want to see a war which 
is intended as a war for democracy . . . carried through 
without any Prussianizing here. . . ." 

In response to criticism such as Professor Eaton's, the Senate 
added a limiting amendment, which, however, was subjected in 
turn to a proviso of its own, the result at one stage being: 
"Provided, That nothing in this section shall be construed to 
limit or restrict, nor shall any regulation herein provided for 
limit or restrict, any discussion, comment, or criticism of the 
acts or policies of the government or its representatives, or the 
publication of the same; Provided, That no discussion, com- 
ment, or criticism shall convey information prohibited under 
the provisions of this section/' 

Even with this and other provisos, however, the newspapers 
were unsatisfied with the bill, and they continued their bom- 
bardment. Congressman William L. Igoe, St. Louis Democrat, 
said: "We are informed by the Attorney General that a large 


delegation of newspapermen conferred with him in regard to 
sections 2 and 3 and were satisfied with them." But on April 
19, for instance, the New YorJc Times said, under the head 

"It is becoming increasingly evident that the portion of the 
Administration which has fallen into bureaucratic ways is will- 
ing to override the provision of the Constitution concerning 
freedom of speech and the press in order to gratify prejudices." 
And again, the next day, the Times referred to "the Adminis- 
tration measure which has been construed as unduly limiting 
the freedom of the press," and declared, "Both the constitu- 
tionality and the public policy of the provision have been 
brought under a sustained fire from all parts of the country, 
and Senators on both sides of the aisle, both yesterday and 
today, directed that fire against the measure at close quarters." 

On the following day the heading "SENATE MODIFIES 
ESPIONAGE BILL," covered a story reporting that "Even 
this amended provision to the minds of some Senators, car- 
ried lurking dangers to the liberties of the press. . . ." But 
the most impressive evidence of press reaction to the projected 
censorship came in the Times of Sunday, April 22, when a 
canvass of editorial opinion from many states was presented 
under the heading: 


The San Francisco Chronicle called the bill "the Russian 
method of excision." The Los Angeles Times termed it "a 
Kaiserism." It was attacked by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat 
on the grounds that it "would prevent proper criticism and 
keep people from knowing what they are entitled to know." 
The Pittsburgh Post said: "It behooves Congress to be on 
guard against members who have felt the smart of just criticism 
of the press and would be glad to make the censorship provision 
the vehicle for their spite." The Philadelphia Public Ledger 
declared: "America will never submit to the suppression of 
information to which the people are plainly entitled." The 


Hartford Courant reminded Congress that "the American 
people are not accustomed to wearing muzzles." And Creel's 
old paper, the Rociy Mountain News of Denver, warned that 
"If the National Administration insists upon a gag law in the 
name of press censorship it will be the first to suffer." 

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was a little more friendly: 
"While a war is in progress little good can come from bush- 
whacking the men we have placed in positions of responsibil- 
ity." And the Baltimore Sun took a moderate position: "It is 
better to have a law, drawn as definitely as possible, which will 
apply to all alike and do away with the temptation to print a 
piece of doubtful news in order to score a beat on a competitor, 
than no law at all." But the Omaha World-Herald spoke for 
the great majority when it said: "If there is anything sacred to 
the average American it is a free press, and any encroachment 
upon it is sure to be received with aversion." 

But America was really in the war now. An American with 
the Canadians at Vimy Ridge had carried the stars and stripes 
into battle just a few days before, unofficially suggesting the 
untruth that it would not be long before our troops would 
invade France in force. On April 19, the anniversary of Paul 
Revere's Ride, "Wake Up America" parades were held all over 
the country, electrifying many who had been at least apathetic 
before. On April 21 the Balfour Mission arrived from England, 
and three days later saw New York's thrilling welcome to 
Viviani and Joffre, who was called the "hero of the Marne." 

Simultaneously fear of spies and of non-conforming opinion 
was steadily rising. Allegedly careful histories of German mach- 
inations on American soil were being issued by a dozen presses, 
and it was generally believed that Germany had made pacifists 
and radicals serve an un-American cause. In the very week that 
Congress met to declare war the Literary Digest was reporting: 
"Opponents of war against Germany are apparently by no 
means silenced. Pacifist petitions pour in upon Congressmen, 
anti-war advertisements fill pages of the newspapers, pacifist 
orators draw crowds, circulate handbills, and hamper recruit- 
ing." And the New YorJc World added: "The real pacifists are 

outnumbered by militarists in open sympathy with an enemy 

At about the same time it was learned that the Emergency 
Peace Federation ("of morally obtuse women and their con- 
sorts/' as a famous scholar described their membership) had 
transferred its pacifist energies from the unsuccessful effort 
against war to a campaign against conscription. A little later 
newspaper readers learned that the Germans had planned a 
Negro insurrection in the South, and the Socialist Party "emer- 
gency convention" in St. Louis brazenly declared that the 
American people had been "plunged into this war by the trick- 
ery and treachery of the ruling class." Upton Sinclair, one of 
the apostate Socialists who broke with his party on the issue of 
war, was reported to have told the government that mines had 
been laid to inaugurate a reign of terror when conscription went 
into effect, and he had it on the authority of Emma Goldman 
that rioting would be "almost civil war." A cartoon in a United 
Mine Workers' publication, showing The People squeezed be- 
tween the Kaiser and Allied capitalists, was widely reproduced, 
raising new fears of a labor revolt or, at the least, destructive 

The Eddystone Ammunition Plant had been blown up on 
April 10, apparently the terrifying result of design, not acci- 
dent, and military guards at bridges, aqueducts, and other 
facilities throughout the country suggested the imminent oc- 
currence of similar tragedies. It is difficult to find a newspaper 
published in April 1917 that did not have on every other page 
some reference to the malevolent work of "the enemy within." 
Some of these stories were based on authentic facts regarding 
enemy activity, but more were purely imaginary. 

The press itself was the most important agency in spreading 
fear of espionage, and at the same time was attempting to limit 
the provisions of the Espionage Bill. This was clearly revealed 
somewhat later when two articles in a single issue of the Liter- 
ary Digest were devoted, respectively, to an attack on George 
Creel and press censorship, and to an exciting expose of the 
dark figures and darker deeds in "Treason's Twilight Zone," 


the Digest slanting the stories to show support for the press 
quotations in each case. 

Apparent inconsistency of this sort was seized upon by 
supporters of the bill. No patriotic, law-abiding American need 
fear the Espionage Bill, they said; it was aimed only at the 
country's enemies. The press did not so interpret the press- 
censorship section, and a hardy band of legislators, Congress- 
man Fiorello LaGuardia among them, retained skepticism 
regarding various parts of the bill. 

As introduced, section 3, of the part of the bill on espionage, 
read: "Whoever, in time of war, shall wilfully make or convey 
false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with 
the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the 
United States or to promote the success of their enemies; and 
whoever in time of war shall wilfully cause or attempt to cause 
disaffection in the military or naval forces of the United States 
shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than twenty 
years or for life/' 

Severity of the penalty is most noteworthy here, for the 
maximum under the hated Sedition Act of 1798 was $5,000 or 
five years or both, and the maximum for this offense under 
England's Defense of the Realm Act was 100 or six months. 

The vagueness of making "intent" the criterion of guilt was 
attacked by some of the legislative opponents of the bill, and 
also was an issue in many of the court cases under the act as 
finally passed, but this nicety went generally unnoticed in the 
newspaper press during the parliamentary phases of the debate. 

Far from contemplating tricky phraseology, the House Judi- 
ciary Committee claimed that the word "intent" had been in- 
cluded "to avoid making innocent acts criminal." The commit- 
tee said: "The criminality of the act is made to depend upon 
the knowledge, intent, or reason to believe that the information 
obtained or transmitted concerning our national defense is to 
be used to the injury of the United States." But Congressman 
Martin B. Madden, Chicago Republican, spoke for the dis- 
senters, as well as for fellow party members who feared a possi- 
ble political use of the censorship power, when he said that the 


bill "affects the liberties of the people of the United States to 
an extent that they have never been affected before in all our 
history." To which Chairman Webb promptly replied that the 
bill was not quite so important as some people supposed: "I 
think it has been magnified somewhat by a lot of misinforma- 
tion that has been printed about it in the newspapers, and they 
have created the impression that the committee or somebody 
was undertaking to unduly abridge the freedom of press and 
the freedom of speech." 

All during May the debate surged back and forth with 
everyone eager for an espionage act to apply to the country's 
enemies but few people, apparently, believing that any part of 
the bill except the press-censorship section carried any threat 
to the civil liberties of the general population. The standard 
case for the bill was presented in a speech of Congressman Dick 
Thompson Morgan, Oklahoma Republican, on May 2: 

"Then let us approach this bill with the proper attitude of 
mind. The object is not to restrict an American citizen in any 
just right he has under the Constitution and laws of this 
nation. On the other hand, it is to guard and protect those 
rights, to maintain the honor of the United States, ... to 
conserve and protect our American free institutions and insure 
the perpetuation of the Nation. . . . 

"Now what is the source of this measure? It comes from 
three great departments of this government from the Attorney 
General, the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the 
Navy. . . . 

"This is to be a criminal statute largely. Who is it to affect? 
The law-abiding citizen? Not at all. It is intended only to 
affect the criminal classes. . . . Here in the United States 
also are several thousand aliens, citizens of foreign nations. We 
have the right to assume that some of these aliens are un- 
friendly to the United States in the great struggle in which we 
are now engaged. Now, then, it is to control and subdue these 
criminal classes, these men who are unfriendly to the United 
States, these men who perhaps are not citizens and who would 
not hesitate to hinder our success in the war. I repeat, it is the 


criminal classes that this act is intended to deter from crime, 
and to punish if they violate the law/' 

Lack of public comprehension of the Espionage Act is 
partly explained by the number of tremendous events clamor- 
ing for newspaper attention, and by the highly intricate parlia- 
mentary history of the bill. It is impossible to describe in a 
few words the tortuous path on which the measure proceeded 
through the legislative mill, but an indication of the difficulty 
encountered by newspaper readers (and apparently editors 
also) may be found in the relation between the House and 
Senate versions, and in the maneuvers relating to the press- 
censorship provisions of section 4. 

With respect to the latter, one of the most interesting events 
took place on May 4. On that day, by a vote of 220-167, the 
House decided to eliminate section 4. Here, it would appear, 
was a smashing victory for the anti-censorship forces. Immedi- 
ately, however, Congressman Warren Card, Ohio Democrat 
(''taking advantage of empty seats/' it was charged later) , 
introduced a substitute section 4 which was adopted a few 
minutes later by a vote of 190-185. 

The Card Amendment provided "During any national 
emergency resulting in a war in which the United States is a 
party, or from imminence of such war, the publication 
wilfully and without proper authority of any information 
relating to the national defense that is or may be useful to the 
enemy is hereby prohibited/' and the President was author- 
ized by proclamation to determine the character of informa- 
tion prohibited and the existence of the national emergency. 
Defendants were to be entitled to a jury trial. 

With the Card Amendment and others, the Espionage Bill 
was passed by the House on May 4, the count being 260 to 105, 
with 62 not voting and 3 "present." The following day the bill 
went to the Senate, where it was amended by the drastic process 
of striking out the entire measure following the enacting clause 
and substituting the Senate's own amended bill. This was a 
matter of parliamentary convenience, not necessarily indicat- 
ing fundamental difference of opinion, but here again the 


public failed to understand. The reference to "wholesale 
amendment" must have led many people to believe that the 
Senate intended to pull the teeth of the Espionage Act. 

This was far from the Senate's intention, but debate was 
extended, certain of the opponents expressing anew their fear 
that the law, if passed, would be used to protect the Adminis- 
tration from criticism. Senator Hiram Johnson had warned that 
"We may well pause lest in our tenderness for democracy 
abroad we forget democracy at home/' And even some of Pres- 
ident Wilson's fellow party members were eager to preserve 
freedom of criticism. Henry Fountain Ashurst, Democrat of 
Arizona, alluded to "the golden stream of $7,000,000,000" 
which soon was to proceed from the Treasury representing 
taxes laid upon the people. He granted that if he were in the 
Cabinet he would try to conceal his mistakes, but it was in the 
public interest that the newspapers should be free to discuss 
"how and when and by whom" the war funds were to be spent. 

Incidentally, Senator Ashurst brings us closer to the main 
subject of this book in another part of the same speech: "I do 
not know who the censor is that has been appointed," he said. 
"I was told the other day; I have forgotten. I am going to 
assume that the censor who has been appointed is a man of the 
highest character; but when I assume that I am not bound still 
further to assume that he is the wisest man, the most circum- 
spect man, in all our country." Mr. Ashurst was not the only 
American who, while debating whether or not the United 
States should have a censorship law, referred to George Creel 
as a censor already in action. The 1917 newspaper reader must 
have been in some confusion as to what the new law proposed 
to do and why it was wanted. 

Of the fact that the Administration wanted it, however, 
there could be no doubt, for on April 25 President Wilson had 
written a letter to Arthur Brisbane assuring him of the fairness 
with which the law would be used: "I shall not expect or per- 
mit any part of this law to apply to me or any of my official 
actions, or in any way to be used as a shield against criticism." 
But he did want the Espionage Act, and White House pressure 


to ensure passage was applied in various ways. On May 22, for 
instance, he wrote Chairman Webb that he regarded censor- 
ship as embodied in the recent House action as "absolutely 
necessary to the public safety"; passage was "imperative." 

By the time this second Presidential letter was written the 
Senate, by a vote of 77 to 6, had passed its version of the House 
bill, without specific press censorship. That occurred on May 
14, and the issue was being fought out in conference. On May 
23, the day after Mr. Wilson wrote to Congressman Webb, he 
received the senate conferees at the White House, urging "the 
imperative necessity that a censorship be established to prevent 
information of the movement of American ships and other war 
moves being conveyed to the enemy." (Just a week earlier the 
destroyer squadron had arrived at Queenstown, and the press 
widely reported that the harbor had been mined in obvious 
foreknowledge of the squadron's arrival.) The President told 
the Senators that he wanted a "mild form of censorship" to 
impose "more than a moral obligation upon any newspapers 
that might tend to print news by which the enemy might 
profit." A conference report was returned to the two chambers 
with press censorship included. 

The first conference report with respect to section 4 modi- 
fied the Card Amendment which had already passed the 
House, and which has been previously discussed. The modified 
section 4 described specifically the character of information 
useful to the enemy which should not be published and made 
it unlawful to publish it. It left out the part of the Card proviso 
which authorized the President by proclamation to determine 
the character of information prohibited, and the existence of 
the national emergency, but authorized the President by proc- 
lamation to declare the character of such prohibited informa- 
tion which was not useful to the enemy, and which therefore 
might be published lawfully. 

But on May 31 the defiant House voted, 184 to 144, to 
send the Espionage Bill back to conference a second time 
with orders to revamp section 4. The second conference report 
adopted section 4 virtually as it had been introduced originally 


on April 2, which merely stated that if two or more persons 
conspired to violate sections 2 or 3 of the espionage title 
they would be punished in accordance with the respective 
sections, and other offenses covered by the title were to be 
punished according to a penal law of 1909. Thus the danger of 
having the President state what might be or what might not be 
published was swept away, with only section 3 covering the 
field. The newspapers felt that in the defeat of the Card 
Amendment and the altered first conference report of section 
4, they had gained the day, and they ceased to decry censor- 
ship further. And it was thus in the shape of the second con- 
ference report that the entire espionage bill passed the House 
June 7, the Senate June 12, and secured President Wilson's 
signature June 15. 

At least a suggestion of public reaction to the bill may be 
obtained by following the New York Times news stories and 
editorials through the last month of its parliamentary history. 

When the Senate passed the bill without the Cummins 
censorship amendment the Times headlined its May 1 5 story: 


Amendment for Press Super* 

vision Is Beaten by Vote 

of 48 to 34. 


The President's letter to Chairman Webb was printed May 
23 with the heading "WILSON DEMANDS PRESS CEN- 
SORSHIP." And when the President summoned the senate 
conferees on May 23 the story was covered the next morn- 
ing both in the news columns and on the editorial page, 


where the paper said: "Does the Administration really feel that 
this Prussian edict would be a proper return for the services 
the newspapers have rendered to the authorities in Wash- 

Encouraged on May 25, the Times said: "Although no 
accurate forecast could be made, the impression at the Capitol 
today among leaders in both houses was that the censorship 
legislation desired by President Wilson was doomed to de- 
feat. ... In both houses there is a deep-rooted conviction 
that censorship is not needed, that the newspapers of the 
country may be depended upon not to print news that would 
be of advantage to the enemy." 

The future newspaper habit of attacking Mr. Wilson by the 
indirect method of criticizing George Creel was presaged in 
the same issue: "President Wilson has been told by some 
Senators with whom he has discussed the censorship situation 
that until the appointment of George Creel as head of the 
Bureau of Public Information congressional opposition to cen- 
sorship was not so strong as at present. The President is said 
to have expressed full confidence in Mr. Creel's ability and 

In the next issue the headline was "CONFEREES OFFER 
POWER OF SUPPRESSION." On the 2 9 th the Times re- 
DEFEAT INDICATED," and at the bottom of the article, 
TION." And in a two-column editorial the paper struck home 
with: "Apart from its unconstitutionality, censorship may be 
set down as a futility in the present situation of the United 
States. Our journals cannot reach the enemy until from two to 
six weeks after publication, and they might be withheld 
altogether from the outgoing mails rather than deprive our 
own people of legitimate information." 

On May 30 the Times carried a three-column story on the 
National Conference of Foreign Relations at Long Beach, L.I., 


where vigorous criticism of censorship was a feature of the 
program. The next day increased opposition to the bill was 
reported from Washington, together with the renewed activ- 
ities of Administration leaders to put the legislation across: 
"Democratic leaders have been working with Representatives 
in the last few days, endeavoring to persuade them to fall into 
line with the President and vote for censorship. ... If enough 
of them can be won over to the President's viewpoint, censor- 
ship will pass the House. 

"Postmaster General Burleson, who worked indefatigably 
among the Democratic Representatives three weeks ago, when 
the first censorship vote was taken, was conspicuous in the 
House lobby early this week. He talked with many Democratic 
Representatives, impressing upon them the necessity of giving 
the President the power over the newspapers that he asks/' 

But on the next day, June i, the Times reported trium- 
184 TO 144. Spy Bill Goes Back to Conference, with Orders 
to Eliminate Press Gag/' 

That last headline may be taken as a fair measure of public 
understanding of the Espionage Act. Aside from the defeated 
section 4 it was only a "spy bill" not only to the Times but to 
many other papers as well. As soon as the specific measure for 
press censorship had been killed the newspapers lost practically 
all interest. When the conference report was finally accepted, 
and when President Wilson's signature was affixed to this out- 
standingly important legislation, the event was almost unre- 
ported in the general press. 

Interest was by then entirely absorbed in the Draft Act, the 
raising of the first Liberty Loan, initial operations of the Food 
Administration, plans for an American expeditionary force, 
and battle news from abroad. Both Current History and the 
Literary Digest, which are normally excellent sounding boards 
of press opinion for the period, chronicled passage of the 
Espionage Act with scarcely a suggestion of its relation to free 
speech and free press. The Digest, in its weekly summary of 
important events, reports for June 15: "President Wilson 

signs ... the Espionage Bill . . . thus giving the executive 
power to place an embargo on all exports." 

As observed earlier in this chapter, only two of the twelve 
titles of the Espionage Act are directly relevant to a discussion 
of free speech, but apparently the great bulk of Americans did 
not know that anything affecting the civil liberty of ordinary 
citizens remained in the bill at its passage. 

Yet in section 3 of Title I and in Title XII was the authority 
used by the Department of Justice in prosecuting approxi- 
mately 2,000 cases, in only some of which the defendants were 
anything like the "spies and enemy agents" against whom the 
public thought the bill was directed. In its final form in 1917, 
section 3 of Title I read: 

"Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully 
make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to 
interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval 
forces of the United States or to promote the success of its 
enemies; and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall 
wilfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, 
mutiny, or refusal of duty in the military or naval forces of the 
United States, or shall wilfully obstruct the recruiting or enlist- 
ment service of the United States, to the injury of the service 
or of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more 
than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, 
or both." 

This is what gave teeth to the Committee on Public Infor- 
mation. Without questioning the loyalty of the great majority 
of American newspapers, it may fairly be said that this was the 
big stick behind the "voluntary" censorship of the press. In 
certain cases it was actually used for control of the press, and 
in countless others the shadow of its authority fell across the 
desks of the country's editors. The CPI was no agency of 
prosecution, but law-enforcement bodies were always prepared 
to use this section of the act to force compliance with the Com- 
mittee's wishes. This is the section most frequently in mind 
when reference is made to "conviction under the wartime Es- 

pionage Act/' and the names of many famous defendants are 
associated with it Victor L. Berger, Eugene V. Debs, Big Bill 
Haywood and ninety-two others in the mass trial of the 
I.W.W., Max Eastman (two mistrials) , Scott Hearing (acquit- 
ted) , Kate Richards O'Hare, Rose Pastor Stokes, and hundreds 
of others. Sentences of five, ten, and twenty years were im- 
posed with a liberal hand, though only the shortest of these 
were served to completion, for President Harding freed many 
of the offenders and President Coolidge ordered release of the 
"last political prisoner" on December 15, 1923. 

Power over the press was found not only in the section just 
quoted but also in Title XII, where it was declared that any 
matter violating the Espionage Act was non-mailable. Oswald 
Garrison Villard, an issue of whose Nation was excluded for 
an attack on Samuel Gompers until Secretary Franklin K. Lane 
and Joseph P. Tumulty came to his support, has charged that 
the measure was used for the persecution of insignificant publi- 
cations while the Department of Justice feared to attack more 
important journals. Mr. Villard reports that when he pub- 
lished the internationally embarrassing text of the Secret 
Treaties in the New York Evening Post he was not even asked 
where he had obtained the inflammatory material which may 
indicate either naive ignorance of its importance or reluctance 
to tackle a paper with such influential Washington connections 
as the Post then had. 

One other part of the Espionage Act is relevant here Title 
XI, under which the government seized the motion picture 
The Spirit of '76, which had been in production before war be- 
gan but, unhappily for the owners, was released at an awkward 
time from the point of view of patriotism. The movie film was 
impounded because, in its portrayal of the American Revolu- 
tion, it showed British soldiers practising atrocities on non- 

The validity of the Espionage Act was not finally established 
by the Supreme Court until the war was over. When the time 
came, four months after the Armistice, however, the Court 
placed its stamp of approval on the broad interpretation which 


almost all judges except Learned Hand and Charles F. Amidon 
had given to the act. One of the most important cases was that 
of Schenck v. United Stares, decided March 3, 1919, in which 
Schenck, an officer of the Socialist Party, was held to have 
violated the law through printing and distributing leaflets 
which might have deterred drafted men from doing their duty 
and the Court did not require proof that the leaflets had 
actually influenced conscripts. 

Most striking of the many interesting aspects of the Schenck 
case is that the decision was rendered, for a united Court, by 
the famous liberal, Oliver Wendell Holmes. He rejected un- 
equivocally the possible plea of protection under the First 
Amendment, denying that free speech is an absolute right, and 
in effect warning all dissenters that they cannot expect protec- 
tion from the courts in a time of great stress such as the World 

"When a nation is at war/' Justice Holmes said, "many 
things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance 
to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as 
men fight, and that no court could regard them as protected 
by any constitutional rights." 

In this and other cases it was decided that words alone con- 
stitute an overt act, that "to obstruct" means not only "to pre- 
vent" but also "to make difficult," and that for most offenses it 
is unnecessary to prove actual injury to the United States if the 
acts' remote tendencies be considered injurious. (Professor 
Zechariah Chafee, Jr., calls this similar to a charge of attempted 
murder for firing a rifle at a man forty miles away.) 

But broad as was this interpretation of the Espionage Act, 
that was not the only source of censorship power. In the Trad- 
ing-with-the-Enemy Act of October 6, 1917, censorship of 
messages between the United States and any foreign country 
was authorized. By use of powers granted by this act, the Presi- 
dent established a Censorship Board, of which George Creel 
was a member, and because of the importance of transatlantic 
news this placed one more powerful weapon in Creel's hands. 

And in section 19 of the act was a provision which enabled 


a aj 



O " 



42 3 

KH tin 



George Creel Shortly Before the War 

the government to whip into line the entire foreign-language 
press of the United States. No one could mail a magazine or 
newspaper containing any article or editorial in a foreign lan- 
guage "respecting the government of the United States or of 
any nation engaged in the present war, its policies, interna- 
tional relations, the state or conduct of the war, or any matter 
relating thereto/' unless a sworn translation were filed with the 
postmaster. But there was a strategic proviso: the President 
might issue revocable permits removing these onerous restric- 
tions from specific publications as long as they behaved them- 
selves. Critics called it a form of blackmail. 

Even with these laws on the books, however, the government 
sometimes felt that it lacked sufficient power, and several fright- 
ening examples of mob violence against supposed offenders 
persuaded the Department of Justice that orderly law-enforce- 
ment required improvement of the language of the Espionage 
Act notably to make clear that attempts to obstruct the re- 
cruiting service and opposition to the Liberty Loan were 
covered. Attorney General Gregory asked Congress to make 
the required amendment. The Senate Judiciary Committee not 
only complied with the request but in a burst of patriotic fer- 
vor proceeded to establish nine new offenses. This thorough- 
going amendment, which is known as the Sedition Act of 1918, 
was passed by Congress and signed by the President on May 
16, 1918, with little public notice an illustration of the con- 
suming speed with which a tendency toward restrictive legisla- 
tion can proceed in wartime. 

Among other new offenses which the so-called Sedition Act 
of 1918 (actually it was only an amendment of the Espionage 
Act) made punishable by penalties up to $10,000 and twenty 
years was the wilful writing, utterance, or publication of any 
"disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the 
form of government of the United States, or the Constitution 
of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the 
United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform 
of the army or navy of the United States, or any language in- 
tended to bring the form of government of the United States, 


or the Constitution of the United States, or the flag of 
the United States, or the uniform of the army or navy of the 
United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute." 
The Sedition Act also changed Title XII of the original statute, 
allowing the Postmaster General upon evidence satisfactory 
to him (i.e. without trial) to return mail addressed to anyone 
violating the Espionage Act. 

Thus, in spite of newspaper elation back in May 1917 that 
months editors might be punished in a variety of ways for 
publication of matter believed to have even remotely bad 
tendencies by exclusion from the mails (and in the case of 
foreign-language papers by withdrawal of permits without 
which it was difficult if not impossible to do business) , and by 
severe personal penalties of fine and imprisonment. 

Although none of these extraordinary powers was vested in 
the Committee on Public Information, George Creel's mem- 
bership on the Censorship Board and his support by Military 
and Naval Intelligence, and the Department of Justice and 
similar establishments made his word almost as good as law. 
And he used that law with a sober sense of responsibility. Mr. 
Creel merits criticism for many of his impetuous actions and 
"horseback decisions" during the war years; he was wrong 
many times, he caused more dissension than necessary with 
other branches of government, and he may have taken too 
much pride in the CPI. But the more complete one's knowl- 
edge of wartime history the more certain does it become that 
there was appreciably more press freedom in the United States 
than in the warring nations of Europe, and that the largest 
share of credit for this belongs to Mr. Creel. 

If the censorship was not quite as voluntary as many Amer- 
icans believed it was during 1917-1918, it was very largely self- 
administered. The CPI set down the general principles, and, 
without legal action, the great majority of American newspa- 
pers followed these rules under their own interpretation. Hints 
of political use of the CPI were of course constantly offered 
during the war. In a sense they were justified, for if it is difficult 


to distinguish between the President as politician and the 
President as statesman in peacetime, it is practically impossible 
when the country is at war. The CPI was naturally used to the 
advancement of Mr. Wilson's ideas, but in the narrower sense 
of seeking aggrandizement for the Administration's political 
party George Creel's committee has a remarkably clear record. 
Some of the Committee's most responsible positions were 
filled by Republicans, and Mr. Creel set his face against in- 
volvement in local politics even when the "patriotic" excuse 
for it seemed pressing to some of his friends. 

Censorship, too, was employed "politically" in so far as the 
term covers suppression of arguments against the Wilsonian 
system of ideas, but it was never successfully charged that Mr. 
Creel used his censorship authority for strictly partisan advan- 
tage or to advance his personal or political fortunes. Even 
charges of outright disloyalty he received without calling on 
the government for protection. 

But the power was there. It was there in abundance, and it is 
easy to imagine how logically and effortlessly, supported by 
wave upon wave of patriotic emotion, George Creel might 
have continued to expand his powers and tighten his grip on 
the American press. That he did not is the strongest evidence 
of his sincerity in advocating "expression not repression." The 
positive side of the CPI story will be examined in later chap- 
ters. In the meantime, who was this remarkable man who, in 
spite of having more than a fair share of mercurial tempera- 
ment, carried his liberalism through the hatred and hysteria 
of war, and what was the vast and unparalleled organ- 
ization that he built up? 


Chapter 3 

THE structure of the Committee on Public Information 
defies blueprinting. It was developed according to no 
careful plan. It was improvised on the job, and the job 
was never completed. From the moment of its birth in April 
1917 until it passed into history half a year after the Armistice, 
the Committee's organization, activities, and personnel 
changed incessantly. The staff was always coming and going 
in important haste, and the work itself underwent continual 
change of scope and direction. 

Main objectives were fixed, but two hours never passed 
without a new idea for achieving them. Bureaus were thrown 
together in an evening on the flash of someone's four o'clock 
inspiration, and on some other day might be as speedily closed 
down, merged with another office, or directed to assume 
entirely new duties. 

Three of Woodrow Wilson's Cabinet members had present- 
ed the germ of an idea, and Presidential proclamation had or- 
dered its development; but it was the brilliant and restless 
mind of George Creel that took this idea and created a vast 
and complex organization of which the President and his 
advisers could not have dreamed when they inaugurated the 
CPI in the first week after declaration of war. 

Mr. Creel was called in to rectify an appallingly bad and 
chaotic system of government news release which had tried the 
patience of working newspapermen and at the same time had 
failed to satisfy federal officials. The press could not get as 
much information as it wanted, yet the State Department and 
the war-making divisions of the government were angered by 
publication of some of the news that the papers had secured. 


What the papers took to be routine information, or at the 
worst a harmless little scoop, appeared to some officials as 

Thus the original purpose of the CPI was to supervise the 
handling of government news, and that was why George Creel 
was summoned to Washington. 

Not only did he do this primary job of directing the release 
(or sometimes the suppression) of news of the American peo- 
ple at war, but he moved into the far less restricted field of 
opinion management, invented new techniques and perfected 
old ones, and first to last built up a stupendous propaganda 
organization that was to make President Wilson's theories 
known at every village crossroads in this country and in remote 
corners of foreign lands. 

The background of the CPI is described in a recent letter to 
the authors from Josephus Daniels, who became Ambassador 
to Mexico under President Franklin Roosevelt but was Secre- 
tary of the Navy (and therefore a member of the CPI) under 
President Wilson. He writes: 

"When we entered the World War, the President, Mr. 
Baker and I particularly all the members of the Cabinet also 
agreeing were very anxious that we should not fall into the 
stupid censorship which had marked the action of some coun- 
tries in dealing with war news. Immediately upon our entrance 
into the war I called in all the newspapermen in Washington, 
and particularly the representatives of the press associations, 
and told them that we would have no censorship but that the 
President and his Cabinet wished them and all newspapermen 
in America to impose self-censorship; that we would give them 
freely the information that would let them know what was 
going on and request them from time to time to publish noth- 
ing which might fall into the hands of the enemy or embarrass 
war operations. Ninety-nine per cent of them patriotically ac- 
cepted this suggestion but we soon found that now and then 
the zeal for scoops outran patriotism. Determined to have no 
censorship and to give the public all information possible, we 


decided to establish the Committee on Public Information. No 
other name was suggested as the executive head of that com- 
mittee except that of Mr. Creel. . . . Lansing, I think, would 
have preferred a sort of censorship and never warmed up to 
Mr. Creel or to the work of the Committee. Baker, saying that 
I was a journalist by profession, largely turned over to me the 
work of the Committee, and never a week passed that I was 
not in consultation with Mr. Creel. 

"I had known Mr. Creel before. The President had for him a 
sincere friendship and admiration; and in turn Mr. Creel was 
devoted to the President/' 

The well known "zeal for scoops" may have posed the most 
urgent problem, but the Cabinet members also had some 
understanding, even that early in the war, of the part that 
public opinion was to play in the struggle. On April 13, one 
week after America declared war, the Secretary of State, the 
Secretary of War, and the Secretary of the Navy sent the fol- 
lowing letter to President Wilson: 


Even though the cooperation of the press has been generous and patri- 
otic, there is a steadily developing need for some authoritative agency to 
assure the publication of all the vital facts of national defense. Premature 
or ill-advised announcements of policies, plans, and specific activities, 
whether innocent or otherwise, would constitute a source of danger. 

While there is much that is properly secret in connection with the de- 
partments of the government, the total is small compared to the vast 
amount of information that it is right and proper for the people to have. 

America's great present needs are confidence, enthusiasm, and service, 
and these needs will not be met completely unless every citizen is given the 
feeling of partnership that comes with full, frank statements concerning 
the conduct of the public business. 

It is our opinion that the two functions censorship and publicity can 
be joined in honesty and with profit, and we recommend the creation of 
a Committee on Public Information. The chairman should be a civilian, 
preferably some writer of proved courage, ability, and vision, able to gain 
the understanding cooperation of the press and at the same time rally the 
authors of the country to a work of service. Other members should be the 


Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, or an 
officer or officers detailed to the work by them. 

We believe you have undoubted authority to create this Committee on 
Public Information without waiting for further legislation, and because of 
the importance of the task, and its pressing necessity, we trust that you 
will see fit to do so. 

The committee, upon appointment, can proceed to the framing of regu- 
lations and the creation of machinery that will safeguard all information 
of value to an enemy, and at the same time open every department of 
government to the inspection of the people as far as possible. Such regula- 
tions and such machinery will, of course, be submitted for your approval 
before becoming effective. 



On the next day the President issued Executive Order 2594 
(dated April 13, 1917) , establishing the Committee in exact 
accordance with the recommendation of this letter: 

"I hereby create a Committee on Public Information, to be 
composed of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, 
the Secretary of the Navy, and a civilian who shall be charged 
with the executive direction of the Committee. 

"As civilian chairman of the Committee I appoint Mr. 
George Creel. 

"The Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Secre- 
tary of the Navy are authorized each to detail an officer or 
officers to the work of the Committee." 

Lansing, Baker, and Daniels had told the President that the 
civilian chairman of the CPI should be a man "of proved 
courage, ability, and vision." Mr. Wilson selected George 
Creel, and it is hard to see how he could have made a better 
choice. Mr. Creel's knowledge of journalism, his vivid per- 
sonality, his devotion to Wilsonian political doctrines, his 
creative and vigorous mind, and the emotional drive which 
urged him on in every job he undertook all of these charac- 
teristics proved invaluable. Without them the Committee 

would not have become the impressive testimonial to his 
ability which it now is. 

But only by the most careful exploration of the CPI files 
can one appreciate the overwhelming importance of that other 
requisite mentioned by the Cabinet members courage and 
the degree to which Mr. Creel was required to display it. 
Courage was needed above all else for the thankless task of 
trying to mobilize opinion yet safeguard democracy, to pre- 
serve liberalism in the essentially illiberal undertaking of war- 
fare and at a time when people from the White House on 
down were finding the ways of liberalism too slow or too un- 
certain for that critical hour. 

The chairman of the CPI came by his liberalism honestly, 
not by 1912 conversion for the sake of political expediency. 
He had been a believer in the ideas of the "New Freedom" 
before Woodrow Wilson had used the term, and even before 
Mr. Wilson came to the governorship of New Jersey had been 
as energetic in its advancement on the plane of journalism 
and practical politics as the future President had been on 
the plane of political philosophy. 

George Creel was forty-one when he became head of the 
CPI. He had been born in Lafayette County, Missouri, the 
son of a Confederate officer who migrated from Virginia after 
the Civil War. While George was a boy the family moved to 
Kansas City, and it was there that he was educated in the 
public schools, attracting some local attention by his sharp- 
penned contributions to the high school paper. Then he 
worked briefly for the Kansas City World until, according 
to legend, refusal to pry into the life of a bereaved family ended 
his first job and interrupted for the time being his career in 
journalism. He left for New York on a cattle train and had a 
perilous time keeping himself alive for the first few months 
in the East. He sold jokes and shovelled snow that first winter 
in New York, and eventually got a job on the New York 

While on the staff of the Journal, at the age of twenty, he 
and Arthur Grissom decided that Kansas City could, and by all 


means should, support a semi-literary weekly. So George Creel 
went back to Kansas City, travelling this time, however, as a 
customer of the passenger department, not the stock-handling 
division. He and Grissom established the Independent. Later 
he bought his partner out and for a decade ran the paper suc- 
cessfully by himself. 

The Independent's Volume i, Number i, appeared March 
11, 1899. The paper sold for three cents and was published 
each Saturday. A serial, "The Servant of the Prince/' by 
Arthur Grissom started in the first issue, as did a column of 
jokes, verse, and philosophical anecdotes captioned "Cap and 
Bells" and signed GEO. EDW. CREEL. This column was 
renamed "Vagrant Chords/' and again "Original Humor," 
and before long the signature had contracted to GEORGE 

With the May 2, 1903, issue, the cover blossomed forth 
with "George Creel, Editor and Publisher/' and such legends 
as "Brilliant Articles," "Clever Comment," and "All That 
Is Best in Poetry and Prose." One other slogan underwent an 
interesting metamorphosis, changing from "A Clean Paper 
for Clean People" in 1903 to "A Clean, Clever Paper for 
Intelligent People" in 1904 whether denoting a change in 
the product, the clientele, or merely the sales appeal the evi- 
dence does not show. 

Creel contributed every sort of literary work to his periodi- 
calarticles, verse, and stories, including one production en- 
titled "A Study in Soul-Strife: the Story of a Murder Mys- 
tery." He attacked indecent plays and erring politicians, and 
he wrote popular songs, one of which, "Every Jack Must Have 
His Jill," he gave full-page advertising on the back cover. Only 
a writer with the omniscience of a latter-day columnist would 
attempt to cover so wide a variety of topics. 

From the beginning of his proprietorship of the Indepen- 
dent, Creel dedicated a considerable share of his great energy 
to social and economic problems. On October 31, 1903, the 
reading public was advised that the paper was "Devoted to the 
Interests of Employer and Independent Employee," and he 


often launched the Independent on crusades looking toward 
one or another of the objectives of the yet-to-be-announced 
"New Freedom/' One number in 1907 carried an article by 
another contributor which Creel gave prominent display under 
the heading: 



In 1909 Creel relinquished his editorship to K(atherine) 
M. Baxter, and the paper increased its attention to the theater 
and turned to gentler crusades, such as "Abolish the French 
Heel." The magazine, incidentally, after various changes of 
name, is published today as The Independent: Kansas City's 
Weekly Journal of Society, directing its efforts to the publica- 
tion of debutante pictures and similar material. It still carries 
the line "Established March 11, 1899," though as long ago as 
1917 Creel's connection seems to have been forgotten. When 
he became chairman of the CPI, the Independent, alas! ap- 
peared unaware of the distinction conferred upon its founder. 

Creel left Kansas City to move farther west, but before 
going an important event occurred in his literary career: he 
published his first book. It was called Quatrains of Christ. It 
was in a precious, gift-book binding and consisted of 121 
stanzas after the fashion of Omar. Edwin Markham referred 
to this work of "the brilliant young editor of the Independent" 
as "one of the four or five best books of verse among the many 
that have come to me from the younger American writers/' 
The Denver Post, to the services of which paper Creel was 
shortly to be called, went farther, throwing caution to the 
winds: "A masterpiece . . . which, had it been printed be- 
fore the translation of Omar, would have ranked higher than 
it in English literature." A sample stanza from these reflec- 
tions on the life of Jesus: 

God gave us mind and will; we are the free 
Unfettered masters of our destiny, 
And not as He did make us will He judge, 
But as His word has meant that we should be. 


Some of Creel's friends chaffed him about the Quatrains of 
Christ during the war years, and he appears to have taken the 
badinage good-naturedly. But the high purpose and religious 
spirit which Creel revealed in these lines was to have an im- 
portant place in the work of the CPI. 

When "the brilliant young editor" left Kansas City to join 
the editorial staff of the Denver Post the Colorado city was in 
the thick of a political battle. A campaign for a public water 
system was won and attacks were launched against the city's 
political machine. Initiative, referendum, and direct primary 
were important issues of the day, and Creel's signed editorials 
on these and other subjects attracted a great deal of attention. 
Once a state legislator sued Creel and his paper for libel, but 
the bold editorial writer took the witness stand and won over 
the jury. According to reports, when Creel was urged to say 
that he spoke figuratively when describing certain people as fit 
to be hanged, he made the courtroom ring with "No, I meant 
it. The hemp! The hemp!" 

A short time later Creel became interested in a county elec- 
tion campaign, lending support to a reform ticket backed by 
judge Ben B. Lindsey. This was important for the future be- 
cause it forced Creel to withdraw from his job and enter 
magazine journalism, and it committed him more definitely 
than ever before to the liberal side of important social issues. 
Creel thought that the Post was guilty of treachery to the re- 
form ticket, so he resigned from the paper, devoting the last 
few days before election to campaigning for what proved to 
be the losing side. But he had won the lasting friendship of 
Ben Lindsey and it turned him toward a wider public. With- 
out a position and without funds he visited his friend Warden 
Jim Tynan at the state prison at Canyon City, and from there 
went to New York. He was delighted to find a ready sale for 
magazine articles, and he might have continued in the "muck- 
raking" field had he not received, in the summer of 1911, a 
letter from Senator T. M. Patterson, owner of the RocJcy 
Mountain News, to come back to Denver and do some honest- 


togoodness muckraking of a practical sort to help put over 
a commission form of government. 

He went and the campaign was successful. But before the 
victory he had an exciting interlude as a member of the Fire 
and Police Board. He directed certain reforms such as de- 
priving policemen of clubs, and he tried to end brutal treat- 
ment of radicals who, he thought, were only encouraged to 
more violence when subjected to police cruelty. He attempted 
to deal with the problem of commercialized vice and venereal 
disease. Finally, he forced an undercover political fight into 
the open and was dismissed by the mayor for his pains. But the 
Commission Government Movement which he led, and which 
he had continued to support through editorials in the Rocky 
Mountain News, triumphed by a two-to-one vote at the polls. 

At one point Creel was asked to be a candidate for commis- 
sioner but refused, giving as excuse the principal charge of 
his many opponents during the CPI experience that he was 
temperamentally unsuited for public office. 

But he was temperamentally suited to rough-and-tumble 
journalism, and his editorial pen was never quiet. Through 
the autumn of 1912 the entire first page of section 5 in each 
Sunday issue of the News was given over to Creel, who dis- 
coursed on a bewildering variety of subjects "The Volcanic 
Balkans/' Margaret Sanger and sex hygiene, the direct pri- 
mary, the Payne-Aldrich tariff, and "The Secret of Charm." 

When President-elect Woodrow Wilson visited Denver on 
October 8, 1912, the Rocky Mountain News burst forth with 
a three-column photograph and this headline: 


Creel had performed a great deal of political service for Wilson 
during the campaign, and after the election continued to train 
his guns on the forces of privilege and monopoly. With in- 
creasing frequency his byline appeared at the head of leading 
articles in Everybody's, Pearson's, and other magazines, and 


usually in support of some phase of the "New Freedom." In 
the March 1915 issue of Pearson's was his article "How 
Tainted Money Taints/' suggesting that millionaires made 
their huge gifts to philanthropic and educational institutions 
"to chloroform public opinion/' He did not hesitate to name 
names and incidents in his campaign against "Monopolized 
Altruism/' and this may go far toward explaining many of 
the charges of radicalism which were brought against him 
when appointed to the CPI. 

In a letter to the New Republic of March 27, 1915, Creel 
said, "For fifteen years I have devoted myself to a task of agi- 
tation in politics and industry, always trying to stay close to 
what may be termed the 'underdog.' During this time I have 
seen oppression, exploitation, corruption, treachery, and be- 
trayal in all their forms, and it may well be that these experi- 
ences have made me less than judicial, overquick to suspect 
and denounce." 

A year before this letter, Creel's name had appeared as co- 
author on the title page of an important new book, once more 
revealing the development of his social conscience and his 
eagerness "to suspect and denounce." The book was Children 
in Bondage, "a complete and careful presentation of the 
anxious problem of child labor its causes, its crimes, and its 
cure," published by Hearst's International Library Company. 
The authors were Edwin Markham, Ben Lindsey, and George 
Creel. It was ruthless in its attack on "the great American 


In 1913 Creel left the Rocky Mountain News and, while 
engaged in various journalistic tasks, continued to expand his 
already wide acquaintance in the fields of politics, literature, 
and the arts. In the last category he was greatly aided by his 
wife, who was the actress Blanche Bates, star of The Darling 
of the Gods and other well known vehicles. When Creel went 
to the CPI, it was reported that her friendship for Margaret 
Wilson, the President's daughter, helped reinforce the close 
ties between Creel and Mr. Wilson. 







<&n interview with the Resident 


wjrj.mjrvhinx policn 

victory (or (or- 

s>n ilut lie 'till not look upon the I're-i'lrni 
merely a* the a'lmini-tr.nive hiad of (M>\. 
rriimenl.lnil a> primarily the lea.!- 
er ami lanmakcr of the- nation. So he ,//,/ 
Tl.i- i- the of Nmcmlxr -evemh So he : ill. li i, a .luty laid upon the Pre-i- he will |>r.iT.I. nn.i-ur'es a- he -hall ju.ljK ntrc->ar>- ami 

h ..- -li..rily .tiler eleiiion ilut I t.ilkc.1 e\|H-.lieni." ami noi onlv Hoes Mr. \Vil-on 

iih him. \et ihe -lay wa- already remote mean lo make -u. h pr..|^.il-. liul he in- 

i hi-;hl. In-tea.l ..( elation there len.l- to fiirllur them l.v every Ultimate 

a- a it -ri.iin hiiml.Kni . <vr if not e\- f.>re al hi- eommand. 


A Complete and Careful Presentation 
of the Anxious Problem of Child Labor 
its Causes, its Crimes, and its Cure 




NEW YORK 101* 








Three Creel Title Pages and an Important Magazine Article 

To aid Wilson in the reelection campaign of 1916, Creel 
wrote the book Wilson and the Issues, which James Kerney 
says "had mightily pleased" the President. Chapter VII in 
that book was "The Case of Josephus Daniels/ 7 a detailed 
defense of the Secretary of the Navy and future member of 
the CPI. On the final page of the volume the author said: 

"Are these hard-won heights to be abandoned? In its hour 
of greatest hope is democracy to surrender? Are the people of 
the United States so lost to the spirit of Henry and Jefferson 
and Lincoln that they prefer chains to freedom? Is it possible 
to build a government of the people, by the people, and for 
the people, or must humanity, by reason of its own stupidities, 
blindnesses, incapacities, and cowardice yield inevitably to 
the rule of the self-elected few?" 

This loyalty to the President's ideals was repaid by Mr. 
Wilson's loyalty to Creel. It was needed, and it is beyond 
doubt that if the President had not stood by him Mr. Creel 
would have been out of office on any one of a dozen occasions 
when newspaper or Congressional ire was directed against him. 
We have already seen in Chapter II some indications of how 
his appointment to the CPI was received. The New York 
Times spoke for many lesser papers when it said on April 16: 

"Mr. Creel may have been unjustly criticized in Denver, 
but we are unable to discover in his turbulent career as a mu- 
nicipal officer there, or in his qualities as a writer, or in his 
services to the Woman Suffrage Party in New York, any evi- 
dence of the ability, the experience, or the judicial tempera- 
ment required 'to gain the understanding and cooperation of 
the press/ as the three Cabinet officers put it. That he is quali- 
fied for any position of authority over the press is made further 
doubtful by his publicly expressed hostility toward certain 

"As to 'rallying the authors of the country/ the other func- 
tion assigned to Mr. Creel, those estimable and gifted ladies 
and gentlemen can doubtless be made useful in various ways, 
but essential to the information of the public during the war 


will be not pleasing fictions prepared by imaginative writers 
but facts, even painful facts, accurately described by conscien- 
tious and competent reporters." 

More than a year later the Times said again: "George Creel 
had been a radical writer, an editor of the RocJcy Mountain 
News, to whose columns he contributed editorials savagely de- 
nouncing the United States government. . . . Whatever may 
have been the rights or the wrongs of his controversies, his 
career had been one of turbulence and mud-spattering; he 
had denounced and been denounced. His name stood for 
acrimonious contention." To this Creel replied in an unpub- 
lished letter to the Times, in which he said: "I enclose a clip- 
ping which strikes me as being very unfair. In none of my 
editorials did I ever 'savagely denounce the United States gov- 
ernment/ I was an advocate of the initiative and the referen- 
dum, and all my considerations were directed to the support 
of these measures. The feeling of the people in Colorado was 
indicated by the tremendous majorities given in favor of the 
reform, and also to every other measure that I proposed dur- 
ing my three years' stay in Denver. . . ." 

Creel went on to say, "My career has not been one of 
'turbulence and mud-spattering/ . . . Any mud-spattering in 
Denver was due to the very villainous activities of the corrupt 
men that I fought and defeated." 

But note the final sentence of the letter: "I do not write 
this with the expectation or desire of any correction, but simply 
to let you know the truth." 

That interchange between Creel and the Times is perhaps 
as impressive testimony as can be given of the way in which 
"Censor Creel" used his power. The head of the mighty Com- 
mittee on Public Information wrote in answer to a personal 
attack not "with the expectation or desire of any correction, 
but simply to let you know the truth." 

If Mr. Creel had been disposed to bring reprisals against 
his critics he would have been kept busy, for they were legion. 
His eagerness and zeal and his tempestuous spirit would have 
ensured him a considerable number of enemies under any 

r 60 1 

circumstances, but it is clear that Congress thoroughly enjoyed 
the sport of "jumping on George/' as it was called. It was a 
safe and convenient way of attacking the national administra- 
tion without the political dangers incurred by direct criticism 
of Wilson. 

He was asked if he was an I.W.W. and a Socialist, and he 
was forced to say that all CPI personnel was under the sur- 
veillance of Military Intelligence (Captain Rupert Hughes 
was one of the investigators) before this particular kind of 
criticism stopped. 

The most famous incident in the Congressional campaign 
against the CPI came in May 1918. In the course of a New 
York speech Creel had been asked whether he thought all 
Congressmen were loyal. Without hesitation he replied, "I 
do not like slumming, so I won't explore into the hearts of 
Congress for you/' 

Both houses of Congress were of course immediately up 
in arms, and there was a chorus of demands that Creel be 
forced to resign. Claude Kitchin said that the chairman of the 
CPI was "unworthy of the respect of any decent citizen/' 
Creel issued a public letter of apology but even then the cries 
of rage did not stop. Ray Stannard Baker believes that it was 
on this occasion that Wilson refused Creel's proffered resig- 
nation, saying that one indiscretion would not be allowed to 
outweigh a year of useful service. And once when a group of 
Senators called on Wilson to ask for Creel's head the Presi- 
dent replied: "Gentlemen, when I think of the manner in 
which Mr. Creel has been maligned and persecuted I think it 
a very human thing for him to have said." 

On still another occasion Mr. Creel recalls that the Presi- 
dent called him on the telephone while he was under attack 
and said: "If necessary I will go up there myself as your 
counsel." But the chairman of the CPI was marked for pun- 
ishment, and when, in June 1918, Congress voted on the 
1918-1919 appropriation it cut nearly in half the sum for 
which Creel had asked. One useful by-product of this incident 
was the Congressional hearing at which the CPI was asked to 

justify itself, with Creel, Byoir, Ford, and others reading im- 
portant information into the record. But the attack on the CPI 
resulted not only in curtailing operations of certain divisions 
but in entire abandonment of two of them and, in the foreign 
field and at home, a weakening of prestige. 

Congress might be criticized by the press, but the newspa- 
pers agreed with the legislators on the subject of George Creel. 
From the very first announcement of his appointment until 
the present day he has been the target for "inkpotshots" from 
the press as well as from opponents of his social and economic 
ideas, from people jealous of the power placed in his hands, 
and from thousands of citizens who had no particular grudge 
against the man but resented the invariable appearance of his 
name on government publicity and were taught by the news- 
papers that he was to blame for their woes. In addition to be- 
ing accused of manufacturing one important and several minor 
news hoaxes in the CPI itself, Creel's traducers attempted to 
link him with the Naval Oil Leases and various other scandals. 

Five years after the war Mr. Creel wrote an article, "The 
'Lash' of Public Opinion," in which he delivered himself of 
the following sad reflections: "It is these joined causes the 
indecencies of partisanship, the noise and unintelligibility of a 
large portion of the press, the lack of trustworthy information, 
the dreary routine of mud-slinging that passes for political dis- 
cussionthat have killed public opinion, or rather deafened it, 
confused it, bored it, disgusted it. Cynicism, indifference, dis- 
gust, disbelief, confusion, bewilderment these are some of 
the reasons why false servants are not lashed into obscurity 
and, in fact, are never called to pay proper penalty." 

In spite of the frequency of personal attacks during the war, 
Mr. Creel felt unable to go into the courts to defend his honor 
because of the expense and his fear of the courts' delay. But 
"not all the attacks of twenty years have given me a protective 
callousness, and every lie has seen me die a thousand deaths." 
Even if suits could have been won, there was no time during 
the war to worry about personal reputations. The country was 
engaged in a death struggle with autocracy, and the anger of 


the CPI leader was reserved, in public at least, for the slacker, 
the Kaiserite, the enemy within. 

Commander George Barr Baker, naval censor at New York 
and after the war Calvin Coolidge's publicity director for 
the 1924 campaign, expressed Creel's own thoughts when he 
wrote him in January 1918: "I don't think that the hard pull 
or the worries and perplexities of our positions are doing us 
any harm. If we live through them we will probably have done 
what we dreamed of doing giving faithful service towards 
Democracy. If we work ourselves to death we will at least have 
gone the very best kind of way. Figuring it this way, we should 
be happy/' 

Mr. Creel's entire conception of "giving faithful service to- 
wards Democracy" was summed up in his unwavering loyalty 
to Wilson. The CPI leader, like his chief, enlarged the "New 
Freedom" into the "New Patriotism," a logical extension to 
world affairs of the program which both had advocated at 
home for many years. This "New Patriotism" can be defined 
in many ways, but an understanding of its significance to 
Americans while the war was in progress comes best not 
through the sober terms of political philosophy but in the 
flaming words of a famous wartime speech which was grad- 
ually evolved by Carl Vrooman of the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture. His high-voltage oratory was in constant demand; 
it expressed what millions of Americans were thinking, and 
Mr. Creel said that he had read the speech "with joy and 
profit." The following brief passage from Vrooman's "New 
Patriotism" speech expresses Creel's own ideas exactly, if in 
language more baroque than the chairman of the CPI was 
accustomed to use: 

"We are going to extirpate the hell-born spirit of conquest 
and break and crush its votaries once and for all time. We are 
in a crusade not only for liberty and democracy but for a 
peace that must never again be jeopardized by the crazy 
dreams of world conquest of a war-mad Kaiser surrounded by 
a war-mad conclave of Hindenburgs, Ludendorffs, Tirpitzes, 

and Crown Princes. We mean to demonstrate so that a thou- 
sand years from now people will read, and rejoice in the fact, 
that in our generation civilized nations by the use of civilized 
methods were able to defend themselves against terrorism, 
Tirpitzism, Zeppelinism, and the blood-red Moloch of mate- 

George Creel did not throw words around as Vrooman did, 
but that is what he believed. 

In the February 1917 issue of Everybody's he wrote "The 
Next Four Years: an Interview with the President," illus- 
trated with cartoons by Rollin Kirby. Here was renewed proof 
of his intimacy with the President. As the New York Times 
pointed out after the issue appeared, the article was strik- 
ingly similar to Wilson's "Peace Without Victory" speech of 
the day before. In the article Creel said that he was presenting 
certain propositions regarding world affairs "that have come 
to be convictions with the President, and that he set down 

The next issue of Everybody's, appearing just before decla- 
ration of war, carried Creel's article, "Four Million Citizen 
Defenders," advocating universal military training as "a health 
insurance policy for America." And the June 1917 issue con- 
tained his article "The Sweat of War," probably written in 
March, emphasizing the importance of mobilizing all national 
resources, not merely armies. That ended Creel's writing as a 
private citizen until after the war. From then on he spoke and 
wrote and acted not as an individual but as a spokesman of 
the Wilson administration and public relations counsel to the 
American people. 

Events in the month of April 1917 moved with lightning 
swiftness, even for a man used to the pace of Denver jour- 
nalism. The first job of the CPI was of course the orderly 
dissemination of government news, and that was first on the 
order of business when Creel assumed office. But other needs 
pressed themselves on the chairman's attention almost from 
the start. It was immediately evident that he intended no pas- 
sive role for his committee: he proposed to make the news 

[6 4 ] 

Spies and Lies 

German agents arc everywhere, eager to gather scraps of news about our men, our ships, our munitions. It is 
still possible to get such information through to Germany, where thousands of these fragments often individually 
harmless are patiently pieced together into a whole which spells death to American soldiers and danger to Ameri- 
can homes. 

But while the enemy is most industrious in trying 
superhuman indeed he is often very stupid, and would 
him by the carelessness of loyal Americans. 

Do not discuss in public, or with strangers, any news of 
troop and transport movements, or bits 01 gossip as to our 
military preparations, which come into your possession. 

Do not permit your friends in service to tell you or 
write you -"inside" facts about where they are, what they are 
doing and seeing. 

Do not become a tool of the Hun by passing on the mali- 
cious, disheartening rumors which he so eagerly sows. Remem- 
ber he asks no better service than to have you spread his lies of 
disasters to our soldiers and sailors, gross scandals in the Red 
Cross, cruelties, neglect and wholesale executions in our camps, 
drunkenness and vice in the Expeditionary Force, and other 
tales certain to disturb American patriots and to bring anxiety 
and grief to American parents. 

to collect information, and his systems elaborate, he is / 
fail to get what he wants were it not deliberately handed to 

And do not wait until you catch someone putting a bomb 
under a factory. Report the man who spreads pessimistic 
stories, divulges or seeks confidential military information, 
cries for peace, or belittles our efforts to win the war. 

Send the names of such persons, even if they are in uni- 
form, to the Department of Justice, Washington. Give all the 
details you can, with names of witnesses if possible- show the 
Hun that we can beat him *t his own game of collecting 
scattered information and putting it to work. The fact that 
you made the report will not become public. 

You are in contact with the enemy tod-p>, just as truly as 
if you faced him across No Man's Land. n your hands are 
two powerful weapons with which to meet him discretion 
and vigilance. Use thtm. 



Creel Committee Advertising in the "Saturday Evening Post" 

HALT the HUN! 


, m.M*? 

til -i 



As the Wai Progressed 
A Well Known Poster by Henry Patrick Raleigh 

division merely the basis for a kaleidoscopic variety of other 
activities which would serve to bring the war home to the 
American people, teach them the significance of the Wilson 
program of reconstruction, and inspire each of them with some 
part of the emotional patriotism of Creel himself. 

By the end of the war, opinion was nearly as important in 
the business of the CPI as the staple commodity, news. The 
use of symbols assumed greater and greater importance, and 
a number of the CPI divisions were concerned exclusively 
with symbol-manipulation. 

It is indicative of the impromptu organization and develop- 
ment of the Committee that no one can draw a definitive out- 
line of its work. As mentioned before, bureaus and divisions 
sprang up overnight and were modified, amalgamated, di- 
vided, extended, or entirely demobilized with a frequency and 
intricacy which typified the feverish atmosphere of official 
Washington. A "come at once" telegram would be dispatched 
to some journalist, scholar, or public figure; he would catch an 
afternoon train; and presto! the next dawn would break on a 
brand new unit of the CPI. As would be expected, a great deal 
of Creel's time was occupied with personnel administration, 
and especially with regretfully declining the proffered services 
of eager patriots who thought that they, too, could make some 
unique contribution toward saving civilization. Some of the 
Committee's most useful men arrived unheralded, but the 
majority were summoned because someone already in the work 
knew their particular talents and the help that they could give. 

In spite of the structural confusion and the resulting in- 
accuracy of any attempt to explain details of the Committee's 
set-up, a quick overall picture of its functions will be helpful 
before proceeding to closer examination of certain phases in 
the work. The Committee was divided into two main sections 
Foreign and Domestic. Between them they had more than 
a score of special divisions, which maintained offices on Jack- 
son Place (near the White House) or elsewhere in Washing- 
ton, or in other cities. In the following paragraphs most of 
these divisions are described very briefly, as they receive closer 

attention in later chapters. It must be borne in mind that this 
classification is in many respects artificial, and that with nearly 
equal logic a breakdown could be made into either more or 
fewer divisions. 


EXECUTIVE DIVISION. In addition to Mr. Creel, this division 
included the associate chairmen, the Committee secretary, 
and their staff. It carried payroll and expenses not assigned to 
other units and adopted, permanently or temporarily, such 
orphan bureaus as could not find a place elsewhere. The asso- 
ciate chairmen were Edgar Sisson, Harvey J. O'Higgins, and 
Carl Byoir; the secretary was Maurice F. Lyons. 

Mr. Sisson was a onetime reporter and dramatic critic who 
had become city editor of the Chicago Tribune, managing edi- 
tor of Collier's and editor of the Cosmopolitan. He was a reg- 
istered Republican though supposed to have Progressive lean- 
ings. Mr. Creel sent him to Russia in an attempt to stem the 
tide of Bolshevism, and on his return he became director of 
the CPI Foreign Section. 

Mr. O'Higgins was an author and playwright who, accord- 
ing to Mr. Creel, made $1 5,000 a year by his pen before com- 
ing to the CPI. He worked closely with the Division of Syndi- 
cate Features, and under his own name wrote the famous 
pamphlet The German Whisper which tried to lay to rest the 
rumors of inefficiency and industrial breakdown which the 
Germans allegedly had started. 

Mr. Byoir, who was called a "multiple director" by Creel 
because of his interest in all branches of the Committee work, 
came to the CPI from the office of circulation manager of 
the Cosmopolitan, of which Sisson was editor. Previously he 
had been interested in the Montessori system of pre-school 
education, and had been co-founder of the children's publica- 
tion John Martin's Boot. Following the war he became a cor- 
poration executive, and in 1930 founded the famous public- 
relations firm of Carl Byoir and Associates. 


Carl Byoir's widely celebrated public relations projects 
have included the "United Action Campaign" of the Ameri- 
can Legion, the President's Birthday Balls, the campaign, on 
behalf of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, against 
chain-store legislation and the effort for consumer support 
in attacking "hidden-taxes." As was revealed in testimony be- 
fore the Dickstein Committee some years ago, one of his im- 
portant accounts at that time was the German Tourist Infor- 
mation Service. 

Compensation for members of the Executive Division, as 
for most members of the CPI organization bore some relation 
to the need of the individual, and frequently division heads 
cheerfully accepted less than was given to a number of their 
subordinates. Salaries for the executives were Creel $8,000, 
Sisson, $6,000, O'Higgins $6,000, and Byoir $5,200. 

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT. This office was created in 
October 1917 to relieve the Executive Division of many de- 
tails, and to take over from N. P. Webster, disbursing clerk 
in the White House, the handling of finances. C. D. Lee was 
director. Altogether the Committee received $9,675,670.23 
(of which $5,600,000 came from the President's National Se- 
curity and Defense Fund, $1,250,000 by direct appropriation 
from Congress for the year 1918-1919, and $2,825,670.23 
from earnings such as film rentals, sale of publications, and 
so on) . A large sum was returned to appropriations, and this 
deduction, plus Committee earnings, reduced the net cost of 
the entire undertaking to $4,464,602.39. 

Two other divisions were in close relation to Business Man- 
agement: the Division of Stenography and Mimeographing 
and the Division of Production and Distribution. The latter 
was under the direction of Henry Atwater and was organized 
June 1917, the initial job being nationwide distribution of the 
pamphlet The War Message and the Facts Behind It. At first, 
all production was by the Government Printing Office, but as 
demand increased it became necessary to let contracts to pri- 
vate houses, and this division set up offices in New York. 


DIVISION OF NEWS. This rock-bottom essential of any com- 
mittee on public information came into being automatically 
with formation of the Committee. John W. McConaughy was 
its first director, and he was succeeded by Leigh Reilly. In all 
more than 6,000 releases were issued, and Mr. Creel estimated 
that these were published to the extent of about 20,000 news- 
paper columns per week. 

OFFICIAL BULLETIN. This was the official daily newspaper 
of the United States government, serving to eliminate a great 
deal of correspondence for the purpose of interdepartmental 
intelligence, to disseminate government news throughout the 
country, and also to preserve "without color or bias" a record 
of the nation's participation in the war. The journal reached 
a peak circulation of 1 18,008, and the cost of the venture was 
over $650,000. The first issue appeared May 10, 1917, and 
the last, as a government organ, March 31, 1919. E. S. Roches- 
ter was editor. 

Churchill was director of this division, which was formed in 
April 1917 and eleven months later was absorbed into the 
Division of Work with the Foreign Born. It followed closely 
every foreign-language paper printed in this country (especially 
with reference to the special permits required under the Trad- 
ing-with-the-Enemy Act) , translated Committee pamphlets 
into foreign languages, and provided a translating service for 
other units of the C.P.I. 

was director of this division, which prepared 105 publications, 
most of them written by nationally famous scholars. Circula- 
tion amounted to 75,000,000. In the last few months of the 
war the Division also issued a sixteen-page paper, The National 
School Service, which was said to reach 20,000,000 homes 
through distribution to school children. 

PICTURE DIVISION. This division was merged with the Film 
Division (see below) in March 1918, both branches having 


been established five months earlier by the President's execu- 
tive order. The Picture Division and the later Bureau of War 
Photographs issued permits "to open up the war activities of 
the nation to the exploitation of the camera." Once the pic- 
tures were made, they were given wide distribution. A Depart- 
ment of Slides was part of the Bureau of War Photographs, 
taking over the production work from the Signal Corps 
Laboratory and distributing more than 200,000 slides. 

FILM DIVISION. At first this unit limited its work to distribu- 
tion of Signal Corps movies, but eventually the division ac- 
quired an Educational Department and a Scenario Depart- 
ment, working closely with commercial producers and also 
making pictures on its own account. Charles S. Hart was 
directing genius of the Division which spent $1,066,730.59, 
but recovered more than three-quarters through film rentals. 

BUREAU OF WAR EXPOSITIONS. Twenty cities saw exhibits 
of the machinery of war and trophies captured from the Ger- 
mans. Admission receipts exceeded by more than $400,000 the 
$1,006,142.80 of expenses. The showing of the exposition on 
the Chicago Lake Front, under the direction of Samuel In- 
sull, was the greatest of all, bringing in receipts of $583,731.24 
and having a total attendance of more than two million (224,- 
871 in one day) . Parades and other special events helped stir 
enthusiasm, and there was a daily sham battle on land and in 
the air, employing the services of 3,000 soldiers, sailors, and 
marines and a British-American squadron of fourteen war 
planes. The fascination of the War Expositions is revealed by 
a front-page story of part two from the Chicago Herald and 
Examiner of September i, 1918: 

"Go and see the 'German 77*5,' the favorite field piece of the 
Hun army, captured in battle, battered and made useless by 
allied shells. 

"See the big torpedo, captured by the British navy, and 
known to be a mate to the one with which the Germans sank 
the Lusitania. 

"Look on the 6,ooo-pound anti-aircraft gun captured by 
American troops, and notice how they perforated and riddled 
it with steel before they took it. 

"See official French photographs of Hun atrocities. See the 
official photographs, which cannot be denied. 

"Walk through the trenches, and look at the dugouts in 
which our boys live, the helmets and gas masks they must wear, 
the weight of the packs they must carry, and try to imagine 
the hum of bullets, the roar of exploding shells, and the smash 
of showers of shrapnel aimed at them. . . . 

"Go down to the War Exposition and picture to yourself 
that hail of shell, that smudge of poison gas, that shower of 
machine-gun bullets, all the atmosphere of treachery and hate 
and unfair fighting our boys had to face. 

"When you get that realization you will be readier to do 
your full share here at home. And THAT is the sole reason for 
the exposition/' 

BUREAU OF STATE FAIR EXHIBITS. This bureau, under the 
protection of the CPI Executive Division, put on a different 
type of display, with conservation the principal "message" but 
with war equipment again as the best drawing card. Exhibits 
were shown at sixty fairs and attracted an estimated 7,000,000 
people. Captain Joseph H. Hittinger, assigned by the War De- 
partment, handled the CPI end of the program, in cooperation 
with the Joint Committee on Government Exhibits of which 
Frank Lamson-Scribner of the Department of Agriculture was 

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS. Roger W. Babson, counsellor of 
businessmen, was given CPI office space at 16 Jackson Place 
in the late winter of 1918 and outlined a full-fledged division 
to bring labor into line. A publishing program was inaugurated, 
but most of the plans did not materialize under the aegis of 
the CPI. After a month the work of the division was transferred 
to the Department of Labor. 

The Alliance for Labor and Democracy, Robert Maisel, di- 
rector, bore an intimate relation both to the CPI and to Mr. 


Babson's other work, but technically it was an independent 
organization headed by Samuel Gompers. 

In view of the form of the Alliance and the brief life of 
Mr. Babson's division, the formal record gives the utterly 
wrong impression that the CPI was not interested in labor. 
Actually, as the reader will discover, labor was uppermost in 
the Committee's thought a great deal of the time. 

LABOR PUBLICATIONS DIVISION. Robert Maisel was director 
not only of the Alliance but also of this CPI unit which served 
it. Offices were at 51 Chambers Street, New York, and the 
chief work was to distribute patriotic literature designed to 
appeal to labor. Later, field agents did a great deal of con- 
tact work with industry. 

SERVICE BUREAU. Members of the CPI were entertained in 
the early months when citizens observed the word "informa- 
tion" in the Committee title and wrote in or telephoned in 
search of exactly that commodity. Later, as the number of re- 
quests mounted, amusement declined. It was decided to es- 
tablish a regular information bureau, and this was done by 
executive order dated March 19, 1918. Professor Frederick 
W. McReynolds of Dartmouth, who was serving as CPI coun- 
sel, was director. Beginning May i, information booths were 
established in the Union Station and elsewhere and a central 
office at 1 5th and G Streets, across from the Treasury Build- 
ing. Records were kept of "the function, location, and per- 
sonnel of all government agencies," and 86,000 queries were 
answered. The need for the work was dramatically presented 
by one questioner whose exclamation, reminiscent to every 
Washington visitor, was "Can you give me some information, 
but for heaven's sake don't send me to another man." Arthur 
}. Klein was Professor McReynolds's chief assistant, and after 
February i, 1919, the directorship was held successively by 
former Congressman Martin A. Morrison (later Civil Service 
Commissioner and assistant chief counsel of the Federal Trade 
Commission) , and Mary E. Schick. 

PICTORIAL PUBLICITY. Charles Dana Gibson was head of 
this unit, which was established April 17, 1917, and main- 

tained headquarters at 200 Fifth Avenue, New York. The di- 
vision cost the CPI only $13,170.97, and its posters and other 
illustrations are vividly remembered to this day by millions of 

BUREAU OF CARTOONS. This was one of the offices taken in 
by the Executive Division. Under the direction of Alfred M. 
Saperston, a Weekly Bulletin for Cartoonists was sent to every 
known worker in the field. 

ADVERTISING. William H. Johns was director of this divi- 
sion, which was established in December 1917. Carl Byoir 
served as Washington liaison officer. Headquarters were in 
the Metropolitan Tower, New York, and the work consisted 
not only in directing some of the most famous patriotic ad- 
vertising campaigns of the war but also in obtaining contribu- 
tions of free space. 

FOUR-MINUTE MEN. More than 75,000 volunteer speakers 
gave their four-minute talks in movie houses, theaters, and 
other public places from Maine to Samoa. Donald Ryerson, 
creator of the division, was succeeded in the directorship by 
William McCormick Blair and then by William H. Ingersoll. 

SPEAKING DIVISION. Arthur E. Bestor was director of this 
division, which was created in September 1917 and merged 
with the Four-Minute Men a year later. It served as lecture 
bureau for all government speakers. 

SYNDICATE 'FEATURES. "The volunteer services of the lead- 
ing novelists, essayists, and short-story writers" were enlisted, 
L. Ames Brown, first director, was succeeded by William 
MacLeod Raine; and Harvey O'Higgins, associate director of 
the CPI, was actively interested. Circulation of the division's 
features was believed to be 12,000,000 a month. 

WOMEN'S WAR WORK. Mrs. Clara Sears Taylor was direc- 
tor of this attempt at "informing and energizing the women 
of the country." Mrs. William A. Mundell ("Caroline 
Singer") was assistant director, and she made news-coverage 
of the War Department her particular field, while Mrs. Tay- 
lor covered the Women's Division of the Council of National 
Defense. This latter group, which included such well known 

women as Ida Tarbell, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, and Carrie 
Chapman Catt, took over the work of "Mrs. Taylor and her 
broken-hearted associates" when Congressional budget-slash- 
ing forced the CPI unit out of existence on June 30, 1918. Be- 
fore that, however, the Division had prepared 2,305 news 
stories and 292 pictures regarding women in the war, and had 
sent 50,000 letters to wives and mothers who had written to 
the government in agitation about conscription, conservation, 
or some other aspect of the war which touched them person- 

WORK WITH THE FOREIGN BORN. "The alien in our midst" 
received CPI attention from the very first, but the formal 
division was not set up until May 1918. The director was Jo- 
sephine Roche, and she had a number of bureau heads re- 
sponsible for ensuring the patriotism of specific nationalities. 

Activities of this unit in the CPFs Domestic Section dove- 
tailed at many points with that of the Foreign Section. 


The Foreign Section commenced operations in earnest in 
October 1917, and the last of its field offices abroad did not 
close until June 1919. At first George Creel himself had per- 
sonal charge of the work but later the directors of the Foreign 
Section were, successively, Arthur Woods, Will Irwin, Edgar 
Sisson, and H. N. Rickey. Carl Byoir was "associate general 
director of the Foreign Section" under Sisson. Much of the 
work gave support to, or was supported by, our regular dip- 
lomatic representatives, and nearly all of it was closely co- 
ordinated, at least in theory, with Military and Naval Intel- 
ligence, and the War Trade Board. 

Details of the work are given later, but for the purposes of 
this "catalog" of CPI divisions, it may be said that there were 
three distinct units of the Foreign Section: 

News Division daily dispatches were prepared, and with the 
help of Naval Communications and commercial cables this 


service was sent to nearly every country in the world, some 
of it even appearing in German papers. 

FOREIGN PRESS BUREAU. Under the direction of Ernest 
Poole, this division sent to our agents abroad a great profusion 
of feature articles, photographs, cuts, and mats, calling on the 
assistance of the Domestic Section's Division of Syndicate 
Features and Division of Pictures for much of this material. 

FOREIGN FILM DIVISION. This unit handled export of 
movies from the Domestic Division of Films, using the export- 
license device to compel commercial distributors to take CPI 
movies whenever sending their own entertainment films 
abroad. Jules Brulatour and John Tuerk were in active charge. 

* * * 

Such, in broadest outline, was the improvisation of George 
Creel. Many and brilliant were the famous Americans work- 
ing under him, but the mighty propaganda machine of 
the CPI was his creation. He was the director of strategy in the 
"fight for the mind of mankind." 

Mr. Creel's post-war career has been interesting. In addi- 
tion to magazine articles, he has written eight books (includ- 
ing a story of the CPI in How We Advertised America) . He 
has recently been United States Commissioner to the San 
Francisco International Exposition. He has been chairman of 
the San Francisco Regional Labor Board and chairman of the 
National Advisory Committee of the Works Progress Adminis- 
tration. And he was Upton Sinclair's opponent in the Demo- 
cratic primaries during the EPIC campaign for the governor- 
ship of California. 

For some men this might constitute a career in itself, but 
for George Creel it was anticlimax. He will be remembered 
for his work of almost a generation ago. His contribution to 
the winning of the war and his remarkable achievements as 
innovator and administrator of propaganda techniques seem 
destined to influence social thinking and action for years to 
come. The CPI was wiped out of existence on June 30, 1919, 
but the work that it did is still evident today as America con- 
siders the possibility of entanglement in a new European War. 


Part II 

Chapter 4 



NEWS was the life-blood of the CPI news from the 
front, from training camps, from the White House, 
from farms and factories, from worker's homes, from 
every place that had a story to tell regarding the American 
people in the war. This news had to be selected, interpreted, 
cast into new form, translated into different languages, ex- 
pressed through new media, but without it there would have 
been no Committee on Public Information. Dean Ford and 
his corps of scholars, Charles Dana Gibson and his world- 
famous illustrators, William Johns and his advertising men, 
Ernest Poole and his Foreign Press Bureau none of these 
would have had material with which to work if it had not been 
for the spade work by the News Division, the primary source 
of information about the war. 

As George Creel and many other people have repeatedly 
emphasized, press cooperation with the CPI and its support 
of the war rested on a "voluntary" basis, but the reader has 
seen in Chapter II that impressive legal authority lay behind 
it. This authority was gradually extended, by Congressional 
and Presidential action, as the war progressed, and by the time 
of the Armistice the government's potential control of the 
press was nearly complete. A self-denying ordinance by Mr. 
Wilson and Mr. Creel was all that stood in the way of an at- 
tempt to impose a harsh, rigorous, and thoroughgoing cen- 

Even before the CPI, an agreement for voluntary censor- 
ship had been reached by representatives of the press and of 
the Departments of State, War and Navy. Then, on April 16, 
1917, ten days after declaration of war and three days after 


creation of the CPI, Mr. Wilson backed this up with a warn- 
ing proclamation regarding "Treason and Misprision of Trea- 
son/' stating, among other things, that the courts had found 
to be treasonable "The performance of any act or publication 
of statements or information which will give or supply, in any 
way, aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States/' 

A new system of general surveillance was also brought into 
being, for on April 25 }. C. Koons, First Assistant Postmaster 
General, issued an order to all postmasters to report "suspicious 
characters, disloyal and treasonable acts and utterances, and 
anything which might be important during the existence of 
the present state of war." 

Three days later the President clamped down on all cable, 
telephone and telegraph messages entering or leaving the 
United States. Wireless establishments had already been 
seized by the Navy, so that after April 28 no electrical com- 
munication could go in or out of the United States without 
government approval. The President's order was put into "in- 
stant effect" as it applied to the Orient and Latin America, 
though transatlantic communication was not censored until 
July 25 "out of a desire to learn the workings of the French 
and British censorships in order to assure effective cooperation 
without duplication." 

Commander David W. Todd, director of Naval Communi- 
cations, was placed in charge of cable censorship and Brigadier 
General Frank Mclntyre given supervision of telephone and 
telegraph lines at the Mexican border. Both offices were in 
constant touch with the CPI, which also served as clearing 
house for the coordination of Military and Naval Intelligence 
with all other branches of the government. Elaborate rules 
were prescribed and frequently amended: only certain codes 
could be used; acknowledgment of receipt of messages was 
forbidden; for some circuits, codes were entirely outlawed; 
every attempt was made "to ease the situation of the American 
trader and correspondent, consistent with military safety," but 
all cablegrams were accepted at the sender's risk and with the 
knowledge that they might be "stopped, delayed, or other- 


wise dealt with at the discretion of the censor, and without 
notice to the sender/' That meant the end of unrestricted 
news from the theater of war. 

Domestic news was not censored yet, at any rate. On May 
24, a propos of a telephone call from George Creel regarding 
an editorial on "Defective Shells/' the Washington Herald 
published a two-column, front-page editorial blast: "The tre- 
mendous influence of President Wilson is behind the cam- 
paign to shackle the press while the war is being fought, to 
rob it of the right guaranteed by the Constitution, to estab- 
lish an autocratic menace to those organs of public opinion 
which may have the courage to criticize the conduct of the 
great struggle upon which the nation is engaged/ 7 All of this 
had to do with publication of a story regarding a tragic ex- 
plosion on the Mongolia, and the controversy raged for sev- 
eral days. The Herald's charges of bad ammunition, which 
Creel declared to be "baseless," were properly recognized as 
weakening public confidence in the Navy. 

While the Mongolia discussion was at its height, the Navy 
Department announced, on May 26, that the time of arrival of 
the American destroyers at Oueenstown, Ireland, had been 
known in Berlin four days in advance. Secretary Daniels ac- 
cordingly issued a statement reminding editors of the perva- 
siveness of the German spy system and adding: 

"The premature publication of ship movements is particu- 
larly a source of danger. The Department, while realizing that 
newspapers did not give this information, would be pleased if 
the fact were brought to the attention of editors, by way of 
showing that extreme care is required in shielding military 
information from the enemy/' 

President Wilson, as the reader knows, had favored ade- 
quate censorship power all along, but for the first fifty-three 
days of the war (that is, from April 6 to May 28) selection 
of news was very largely a matter of the editor's individual 
discretion. He was subject to laws against treason and his good 
sense normally told him what might and what might not be 


published. Then on May 28 came the "Preliminary State- 
ment/ 7 in which the CPI codified rules but still depended 
upon existing laws for its authority. 

On June 1 5 the President signed the Espionage Act, as de- 
scribed in Chapter II, and through the summer of 1917 that 
law provided the threat of force behind the press censorship. 

Under the powers conferred upon him by the Trading-with- 
the-Enemy Act President Wilson issued an executive order 
on October 12, 1917, which among other things set up a Cen- 
sorship Board which actually possessed more power than 
envisioned in the ill-fated Kirby Amendment of the previous 
May. It was, however, supposed to be concerned chiefly with 
international communications, outgoing and incoming foreign 
mail, and the like. The members of this new board included 
George Creel and representatives of State, War, Navy, Post 
Office, and War Trade Board. It had control of communica- 
tion with foreign countries and through the Post Office 
Department it had power over the mailing privilege of any 
disloyal publication. 

Finally, on May 16, 1918, the so-called "Sedition Act" 
amending the Espionage Act brought a wholesale extension 
in the categories of seditious information, including various 
forms of "disrespect" offenses which were subject to great 
latitude in interpretation. 

With all of these laws on the books, not to mention the 
prevalence of an excited wartime spirit, George Creel at last 
held a whip hand over the editors of the country, but his ad- 
ministration was not greatly different from what it had been 
on May 28, 1917, when he issued the "Preliminary State- 

This latter document was issued as a pamphlet and repro- 
duced in the Official Bulletin of June 2, 1917. It carried on the 
cover a quotation from President Wilson's letter to Arthur 
Brisbane: "I can imagine no greater disservice to the country 
than to establish a system of censorship that would deny to 
the people of a free republic like our own their indisputable 
right to criticize their own public officials. While exercising 


the great powers of the office I hold, I would regret in a crisis 
like the one through which we are now passing to lose the 
benefit of patriotic and intelligent criticism." Page 2 carried 
a quotation from President Monroe's message of December 2, 
1823, in support of the same doctrine. Then in an italicized 
foreword Mr. Creel set forth the policy of the CPI: 

"Belligerent countries are usually at pains to veil in secrecy 
all operations of censorship. Rules and regulations are issued as 
'private and confidential/ Each pamphlet is numbered, and the 
recipient held to strict accountability for its safe and secret 
keeping. The Committee on Public Information has decided 
against this policy, and the press is at liberty to give full pub- 
licity to this communication. . . ." 

The purpose of the announcement, Mr. Creel said, was not 
only to state what news should be withheld, but also to remove 
"needless misapprehensions which have led the conscientious 
many to omit matters freely open to discussion/' and to put an 
end to "such misrepresentations as have served to shelter the 
unscrupulous few/ 7 Special injunctions in the foreword in- 
cluded a warning against possible insults to our comrades in 
arms, and prohibition against unsigned dispatches from "our 
special correspondent," and against exaggerated or unverified 
reports capable of leading to panic. 

Reckless journalism, said Mr. Creel, is bad enough in peace- 
time, but "is a positive menace when the nation is at war." 

He added: "In this day of high emotionalism and mental 
confusion, the printed word has immeasurable power, and the 
term traitor is not too harsh in application to the publisher, 
editor, or writer who wields this power without full and solemn 
recognition of responsibilities." 

Then came the "Regulations for the Periodical Press of the 
United States during the War." News fell into three categories 
Dangerous, Questionable, and Routine. 

"Dangerous" news included stories of naval and military 
operations in progress; movement of official missions; threats 
and plots against the life of the President; news regarding secret 


service and confidential agents; movements of alien labor. 
Naval information in the forbidden category included the posi- 
tion, number, or identification of Allied or American warships; 
certain data pertaining to lights and buoys; mention of ports of 
arrival or departure; any details of mines or mine traps; signals, 
orders, or wireless messages to or from any warship; all phases 
of submarine warfare; facts regarding drydocks. Forbidden mil- 
itary information included any relating to fixed land defenses; 
movements of American or Canadian troops; assignment of 
small detachments; concentration at ports; aircraft and equip- 
ment that was, or might be, in the process of experimentation. 

"Questionable" matter, which might be published but only 
with the greatest caution and usually only with the approval 
of the CPI, was not exhaustively described, but three illustra- 
tions were given: naval and military operations, including train- 
ing-camp routine; technical inventions; and sensational or dis- 
quieting rumors, such as those of an epidemic, without the 
most painstaking verification. 

The great bulk of news, however, the Committee realized to 
be in the "Routine" category. Writers and editors were urged 
to submit articles if they had any doubt as to the propriety of 
publication, and the CPI promised speedy consideration of all 
such submitted copy. If approved it was stamped either 
"Passed by the Committee on Public Information," signifying 
merely that it could be published safely, not necessarily that it 
was accurate; or "Authorized by the Committee on Public In- 
formation," which meant that it had been carefully investi- 
gated and officially approved. 

In general, editors were warned against feeling that because 
facts were generally known in a local district it was therefore 
safe to give them publication. Editors were also charged to 
examine, with the same care that they devoted to news, the 
contents of advertising copy, and even paid reading notices. 
And of course everyone was to guard against indiscriminate 
publication of maps, charts, and pictures. 

But after all of these "don'ts," the "Preliminary Statement" 
wound up with a declaration of the CPI's positive function: 


"The Committee on Public Information was given its name in 
no spirit of subterfuge, but as an honest announcement of 
purpose." The primary aim was to make news accessible, and 
to present it without coloring or bias. 

Editors were asked to report infractions of the rules to the 
CPI, and many of the papers passed on this invitation to their 
readers. The Literary Digest, for instance, concluded a long 
article on treason with the announcement that "Readers are 
invited to clip and send us any editorial utterances they encoun- 
ter which seem to them seditious or treasonable." Most of the 
readers were naturally unfamiliar with precise rules and fre- 
quently urged suppression of papers guilty of no impropriety. 

Then, too, some of the newspaper associations gave their 
organized assistance, as when the Pittsburgh Press Club devel- 
oped an intelligence bureau not only to disseminate informa- 
tion but also to keep twenty-seven Pennsylvania counties under 
surveillance for the Department of Justice. On top of all this, 
the Department of Justice itself extended official recognition to 
a national organization of amateur detectives known as the 
American Protective League. This group seemed clothed with 
at least semi-official authority yet lacked official discipline and 
sometimes even knowledge of the laws. It was never accused of 
lacking diligence in its purpose of "securing information and 
conducting investigations of complaints which do not appear 
to require immediate investigation by agents of the Depart- 

Thus not only enforcement agencies but a host of civilian in- 
vestigators were alert for disobedience of Mr. Creel's rules. The 
"Preliminary Statement" was widely distributed, and few of 
the rules could be broken without the Committee learning 
about it. 

Understandably, this new journalistic code was not received 
in newspaper offices with cordiality, but its provisions were 
generally followed. 

To the very end of the war, however, individual papers broke 
over the traces from time to time sometimes the same paper 
repeatedly bringing a rebuke from Mr. Creel or, less frequent- 

ly, a visit from an enforcement officer. In the matter of censor- 
ship, as has been pointed out, Mr. Creel lived a sort of Jekyll- 
and-Hyde existence. As chairman of the CPI he could dictate 
his favorite paragraph, which is incorporated in many of his 

"The Committee on Public Information is without the 
slightest authority to decide what constitutes seditious utter- 
ances or disloyal attitudes, Congress having specifically vested 
these powers in other departments and in the courts of the 
land. At all times we have refused to assume this authority, or 
to be put in the position of usurping functions of the prosecu- 
tory and judicial branches of government. Only in cases of 
absolute misstatement of fact have we ever intervened, scrup- 
ulously avoiding all appearance of control over opinion." 

But as a member of the Censorship Board, backed by the 
might of the United States government and in many respects 
not even obliged to seek action from the courts, Mr. Creel had 
the power to crack down on any newspaper or periodical, sug- 
gesting that the Department of Justice prosecute its editor or 
that the publication itself be excluded from the mails. He could 
have brought petty reprisals against it all along the line, and he 
even had the ability, through liaison with the War Trade 
Board, to cut off the supply of newsprint. 

To the newspapers, many of the CPI decisions about pub- 
lishable news seemed unreasonable, but in the great majority 
of cases the Committee was able to present a good argument. 
It seemed natural to many editors, for instance, to mention the 
name of the vessel and master when describing the exploits of 
armed merchantmen which attacked or sank submarines. But 
the CPI recalled the celebrated 1916 case in which Charles 
Fryatt, captain of a British merchantman, was captured, court- 
martialled, and shot for "a franc-tireur crime against armed 
German sea-forces" because a year earlier the House of Com- 
mons had publicly commended him for attempting to ram the 
(7-33. The case had been alluded to in the CPI rules, but in the 
first week in June various papers forgot the censorship agree- 
ment and carried dispatches from France telling of the victory 

of the Silver Bell over a submarine. So on June 1 5 the Navy 
Department issued a "formal request on the press for restora- 
tion of the agreement to its original force." 

Even news items far less dramatic than tales of submarine 
warfare might have an important effect on the outcome of the 
war. As an indication of the indirect influences which Mr. Creel 
was obliged to keep constantly in mind, here is a letter to 
Commander Todd, who was in charge of cable censorship: 
"The closing of American packing houses in Buenos Aires is 
compelling the Allies to send ships to America for meat sup- 
plies. As far as cable censorship is concerned this news must be 
suppressed, as Mr. Hoover states that publication would send 
up meat prices at once. Will you please issue the necessary 

Through the entire CPI experience Mr. Creel tried to be 
reasonable, but he was not prepared to be easygoing. Indica- 
tion of this comes in many records such as an exchange of let- 
ters with Hugh }. Hughes, editor of the Minneapolis magazine 
Farm, Stock and Home. Mr. Hughes wrote in January 1918: 

"Do you think we are concealing anything from Germany 
when we withhold from publication the approximate number 
of men now in France? Isn't that number quite as well known 
to Wilhelmstrasse as to Washington? Is not the location of 
American units on the front perfectly well known to Germany, 
likewise the ports of entry in France?" 

Mr. Creel replied: "I tell you quite frankly, as the Secretary 
testified, that Germany does not know how many men we have 
in France, or does not know their location. On the theory that 
the Germans are bound to find out everything, and that there- 
fore there is no point in attempting any secrecy, we might as 
well send advance information of our plans in carbon to the 
German War Office and have done with it. Merely because we 
may fail in some essential of secrecy is not a reason why com- 
mon prudence should be thrown to the winds." 

Never throughout the war, however, was there complete, 100 
per cent conformity with the CPI rules. Certain newspapers 
flouted the censorship again and again, though it must be said 

that in nearly all of these cases the transgression was that of 
publishing "dangerous" news not of "disloyalty" or encourage- 
ment of disaffection. A few examples may be given from the 
summer of 1918, one from a Sunday supplement and three 
from different issues of the same daily. 

On Sunday, August 4, the Hearst-owned San Francisco Ex- 
aminer carried a two-page spread in its feature section "The 
American Weekly," with the title: 

The article was illustrated and even showed diagrams purport- 
ing to reveal how mines were set and exploded, the position of 
British minefields, and the organization of a large convoy. 
On August 16 Creel sent personally the following telegram: 




Since the "American Weekly" supplement appeared in most 
Sunday papers owned by Hearst, it is not entirely clear why 
Mr. Creel wired to the Examiner. Perhaps protest had also 
been lodged with other papers (some of which had carried the 
story a week earlier) , but if so, no record remains. 

Another example of disregarded censorship rules related to 
the new tank developed in France by Renault. On July 26, 
1918, Colonel Marlborough Churchill of Military Intelligence 
issued through the CPI a confidential memorandum to all edi- 
tors asking for "great caution in the use of pictures and articles 
concerning tanks/' The memorandum pointed out that the 
tank was undergoing rapid evolution and that the French Min- 
istry of Armament had taken great care to prevent publication 
of pictures or specifications. Recently, however, a French illus- 
trated paper had carried one of the forbidden pictures and it 


was found that this was reproduced from an American period- 
ical "which reached France and presumably Germany." 
Churchill "strongly urged" a closer guard on information 
about tanks. 

But the August 10 issue of the Washington Post carried a 
page i story, replete with details, under the headlines: 


Brigadier General Churchill (recently promoted) on the 
zgth wrote to Edward B. McLean, editor of the Washington 
Post: "It is my painful duty to inform you that your paper has 
ignored one of the few appeals that General Pershing has made 
to the press. His specific and earnest statement . . . was fol- 
lowed by the article on your front page August 10, entitled 
Trench Tank Marvel/ signed by the pseudonym 'Ryley Gran- 
non/ ... I should be obliged for an explanation of your action 
in this matter, and a statement as to your attitude toward such 
requests in general." 

Mr. McLean came to the Military Intelligence office and 
satisfied the authorities that the tank rule had been overlooked, 
not intentionally disregarded. Soon after that, orders of the 
Chief Military Censor were given on special colored cards 
printed as shown in Order No. i reproduced below: 




To All Correspondents, Editors and Publishers: 

NOTICE: Memoranda of this nature are sent on cards of this size and color for 
the convenience of those concerned. It is suggested that they be filed for ob- 
servance until the receipt of a similar canl cancelling the request. 

Memorandum on Tanks 

Editors ,-irc requested to refrain from disclosing the strength of the personnel 
of the Tank Corps; from disclosing the number of its members overseas; from 
disclosing the number of tanks built or building in the United States; and 
from publishing descriptions or photogr.aphs of American tanks. 

No objection is interposed to publicity designed to promote the recruiting 
campaign of the Corps, provided that in all such publicity the above request is 

The request to refrain from publication of photographs and descriptions of 
British and French "Whippet "'tanks is withdrawn. 


Brig. Gen., Gen. Staff, Director of Military Intelligence, 
Chief Military Censor. 


But the Post was in continual difficulties. On August 22, 
before the exchange with General Churchill on tanks, the 
paper had published another page i story, signed by Albert W. 
Fox, in contravention of the rules. The heading was: "FOUR 
VESSELS SUNK," and the story told of the depradations of 
a German raider. This notation appears on the dossier of this 
case in the CPI file: "Much of the attached article by Fox was 
in violation of Admiral Benson's injunction of secrecy in rel. 
these details. Commander Foote had Fox on the carpet in rel. 

And still the Washington Post was unchastened. On August 
30, in a confidential note to the press, Secretary of the Navy 
Daniels had said: "The publication of any reference to naval 
guns on the Western Front or of any detail of such guns is 
absolutely unauthorized, and it is highly desirable that no 
publication of the kind be made at present. The press is re- 
quested not to print anything in regard to these guns until 
publication is officially authorized." Yet on September 21, 
1918, the Washington Post published another story of Albert 
W. Fox under the head "MEAN DOOM OF METZ," telling 
how American long-range "g-inch guns and guns of larger 
caliber, were bombarding the forts around Metz." 

All these were "stunt" stories. More clearly indicative of 
the fact that Creel did not push to the edge of his power is the 
tremendous number of newspaper stories and editorials sharply 
critical of the Administration; exposing alleged inefficiency and 
stupidity, protesting against government rules on food, fuel, 
prices, and the mobilization of industry; and always, always 
taking those "inkpotshots" at the CPI and its chairman. The 
New YorJc Evening Post, as mentioned before, published the 
text of the Allies' secret treaties; the same paper was able to 
attack the authenticity of the Sisson Documents regarding Rus- 
sia (see Chapter XIV) ; Former President Theodore Roose- 
velt and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge had a good press for their 
scarcely covert attacks on President Wilson; General George 
W. Goethals was able to bring into the open many of his 


charges regarding first the shipbuilding program and later air- 
craft production; and the left-wing press was allowed what 
seems even today to have been remarkable latitude in discuss- 
ing many (though not all) of the questions regarding the war. 
When Creel's opinion was solicited by the Department of 
Justice, for instance, he wrote of the New Republic: "It is very 
independent in its criticisms, somewhat radical in its attitude, 
but its support of the Administration in the prosecution of the 
war has been very able and effective." 

As this shows, if Mr. Creel thought a paper was fundamen- 
tally loyal to Wilson's war aims, he did not quibble about crit- 
icism on minor points. He was as ready as anyone else to use 
"disloyalty" as a stick for beating the men whom he considered 
Wilson's real opponents, but he was rarely petty. 

He could afford to overlook unimportant details in a small 
number of papers because all the rest of the press was pounding 
out an anvil chorus of patriotism under the direction of the 
CPI. Nearly all the papers were publishing the stories stream- 
ing out from the Committee's News Division in such a flood 
that obstructions were swept along with it. 

The News Division of the CPI was in one respect like a great 
city desk serving all of the newspapers in the country. But that 
suggestion that it was able to command publication is not 
accurate. As Mr. Creel explained when on the griddle before 
the House Committee on Appropriations in the spring of 1918, 
CPI releases were tested for their news value by the soundest 
of all methods they were placed on the desk of all Washington 
correspondents, and those gentlemen could do with them as 
they pleased. The only thing they could not do was to break a 
release. ("Newspapers that fail to observe the release will be 
deprived in future of the privilege of receiving statements is- 
sued by the Committee in advance of the date of release.") 
With that exception they were entirely on their own responsi- 
bility as to disposition of the stories they could file them with 
the telegraph operator or the trash man at their own discretion. 

In the overwhelming majority of cases the correspondents 
wished to use the CPI stories, and their home offices wished to 

print them. The average publication of CPI material, Mr. 
Creel estimated after the war, filled more than 20,000 columns 
per week. Leo Rosten, in his book The Washington Corre- 
spondents, gives the CPI period as the origin of that remark- 
able journalistic phenomenon known as the "handout/' 

More than 6,000 releases were issued during the life of the 

The Division of News never closed its doors. It was open 
twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and between its 
reporters and its wire connections it was in constant touch with 
war developments throughout the world. In Washington it 
had men constantly digging in government departments for 
facts which would make good newspaper copy, and its rewrite 
men were continually busy on stories coming in from other 
parts of the country or from abroad. 

J. W. McConaughy, who had formerly been editorial writer 
for Munsey's Magazine and the New York Evening Mail, was 
first director of this key division of the Committee. Records are 
not complete as to other personnel in the early months, but in 
June 1918 Leigh Reilly became director, coming from the post 
of editor of the Chicago Herald. At that time eighteen other 
people were in the Division. Mr. Reilly was paid $5,200 per 
year, and his ranking assistants, receiving $3,900, were Marlen 
E. Pew, subsequently editor of Editor and Publisher, and 
Arthur W. Crawford, Washington correspondent for the Chi- 
cago Herald. Among the other employees was Kenneth Durant, 
regarding whom Mr. Creel told the House Appropriations 

"Mr. Durant was a Philadelphian who was in London before 
our war. He was engaged over there in English propaganda 
work. He then came to this country for the British commission 
on the state of American public opinion. Sir Gilbert Parker, 
when he was here, recommended Mr. Durant to me as one of 
the best men he knew, and Mr. Durant is now in the News 
Division sitting on this desk/' 

In addition to ferreting out publishable news items from 
Washington offices, the division also prepared releases on 


! :-r O'V -S'ON 

28 -T 

i.*. i, 4 - 


THC CNwrr or 

!*y .-, 1913 

Mr, Seorge Oreel, 

OJmlrssasn, Committee on J*ablie Infor 

10 Jackson Place, Washington, t>. C. 

% tear Mr. Orwel 

you will find an article IUeh appeared in the Sew 
Aoericaa with the cable date liat of April 30, 1913. Co^i of 
fumlihd by th pr*s efsor ^ow t^i&t tht <a*Jl nTr pasted tn agh th 
$na0r*hlp offic** lo othr word*. If It oass* through, it oane in * tsa^ 
to avoid cnor*hip. It Apptwr* to thi offic* fros: th ra4infr of the di 
pateh tht spjrBtIy It mi* written in the United States, feeing & "grape 
Tin*," as aewsp&per men o*il it, or a ttory written on oc little 
of jfeot eard fro-a another owrce. If thi* be troe, of ooure. It 
case of mjmfacturinf: new*. 


* Ken m High Spirits 

* bttficfKmt *- 
wi r*e& tfe 
twrtMMtt ** $*-i 
ts*k 4-st* m ttt 

** A.**rS*|* *r< 
tSs* lijt { , 

T 9tJI t tJs, 

for you to hare CK of your raen take thie 
-ffioe in Hew Yorsct the x^eetion i* that the 
the. bai tijkt the dispatch 1* s legritiaate one 
lp has been evaded. Thle probably would either 
e censorship had beer, evaded, er^woald brinf crat - 
spe-toh is a fiotiti<m one writt^o in thie ootm- 

like to have this mtt*r cleared up and the 
tewt article* preoeded by cble dispatch lines 

i one of the duties of an sttc-:-e of the ce-ssor- 
ether changes have been mde in cable dispatches 
them, also to determine if ther* are ce 
of cable diepatehes. 

to retarn to u* the eeeloeod clipping 

foars very sincerely, 

S. H.Tan Damn 

Colonel, Ikwserml Staff, 
Chief, Military IstelllgeT^e 
Dine ion 


f * Httnt 
Captain, Inf., B. S. I.A. 

Battle News Manufactured in New York 

Captain Hunt of Military Intelligence Sends Mr. Creel Evidence of a 
Spurious "Foreign Dispatch" to the "New York American" 



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"Stopped, Delayed, or Otherwise Dealt With . . ." 
First and Last Sheets of an Outgoing Four-Page News Dispatch 

Pershing's communiques, casualty lists, interviews with Cabi- 
net officers, and every other kind of material which ingenuity 
might devise. It also relayed to the newspapers special requests 
from various departments, such as this one which the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture wished published in twenty-four states 
where, in September 1917, there was found to be an excess of 
perishable fruits and vegetables. The Department asked: 

"i. Publication by you daily for a period of three weeks or 
more of a short popular article dealing with some phase of the 
problem of perishables. 

11 2. Publication also of a short box giving instructions for 

"3. Such editorial comment in support of this campaign as 
you may deem proper and advisable. 

"4. Assignment by you of a reporter to conduct a daily local 

Still another form of press communication was the War 
News Digest, sent upon request to 12,000 country editors. 
When Mr. Reilly succeeded Mr. McConaughy, the latter be- 
came editor of the War News Digest, holding that post until 
his departure for South America on a special CPI mission. A 
news service under ReiHy's division was established with 
the A.E.F. and Maximilian Foster was the official CPI repre- 
sentative in France. 

In the last months of the war the News Division added yet 
one more to its duties by preparing a nightly digest of world 
news which was sent by wireless to all naval vessels and trans- 

As to general policy in this division, Mr. Creel's final report 
declares: "A special and painstaking effort was made to present 
the facts without the slightest trace of color or bias, either in 
the selection of the facts to be made public or in the manner in 
which they were presented. Thus the News Division set forth 
in exactly the same colorless style the remarkable success of the 
Browning guns on the one hand and, on the other, the facts of 
bad health conditions in three or four of our largest camps/' 

In order to provide an extra check against inaccuracy, all 
articles by the CPI were submitted for approval to the chief of 
the department in which the news originated which newspa- 
permen will recognize as beneficial not only in keeping faith 
with the public but also as having the "political" advantage of 
preventing sniping at the CPI from other departments. Both 
Mr. Creel and Dr. Guy Stanton Ford have stated that of the 
6,000 releases only three were ever called into question as to 
accuracy; and that the only error alleged with any foundation 
in fact (the airplane shipment incident) occurred through 
acceptance at face value of a statement by a war-making 

Whether or not a post-war examination of all the CPI re- 
leases would leave this almost incredible record intact, only a 
casual glance at the Committee's work is needed to see that no 
newspaper office carried on its work with a greater sense of 
responsibility and sobriety in the handling of news. 

From first to last the Division of News cost only $76,323.82, 
which is not only an extremely modest sum in comparison with 
that for some of the other divisions, but is infinitesimal in rela- 
tion to the mighty and pivotal job which it performed. The 
CPI never became quite the super-agency for which Mr. Creel 
hoped, because a number of the old-line departments and even 
some of the large emergency establishments, such as the Food 
Administration, the War Trade Board, and the Council of 
National Defense maintained their own publicity offices. But 
the CPI had a monopoly on the news that really counted that 
from most branches of the army and navy, from the State De- 
partment, and the White House, and from many other offices. 


And in one important respect the CPI had the field entirely 
to itself. It published the first official daily newspaper in the 
history of the United States. This country, unlike many others, 
had no governmental gazette such as it now maintains in the 
Federal Register. There was no one authoritative medium for 

publication of government news, the text of orders and procla- 
mations, reports, and so on. As things stood in the first part of 
1917, each newspaper could decide for itself whether to pub- 
lish such documents in full, to give the contents in brief para- 
phrase, or to omit the material altogether; in many cases im- 
portant items were entirely ignored. 

The Official Bulletin was therefore established primarily to 
give a place for official publication of these important papers. 
But two other objects were also in view: reduction in the 
amount of correspondence necessary to maintain interdepart- 
mental intelligence; and preservation of "a faithful record of 
the part played by the government of the United States in the 
World War ... so that the people of the world might know 
and enjoy a better understanding as to what was being done, 
the objects sought, and the reasons actuating the government 
in its operations/' 

So the Official Bulletin (later called Official U.S. Bulletin) 
was founded, and its first issue appeared May 10, 1917. The 
editor was Edward Sudler Rochester, who was managing editor 
of the Washington Post for seven years and after the war was 
to serve as Special Assistant to the Attorney General and secre- 
tary of the Federal Conservation Board. He is and was a Re- 
publican and is known for his books on President Harding and 
President Coolidge. Mr. Rochester was paid $5,200 a year. 
The associate editor, who received $2,340, was John D. Neel, 
former city editor of the Washington Post. The rest of the 
staff included reporters, clerks, messengers, and copyreaders. 

The Bulletin was 9 x 1 1 in format. The number of pages 
grew from eight in May 1917 to thirty-two and sometimes more 
in the winter of 1919. Publication was daily except Sunday. 
Daily average circulation increased without exception each 
month from 60,000 in May 1917 to 115,000 in October 1918. 
It declined rapidly from the high point to a low of 33,000 in 
March 1919. 

Distribution of the Bulletin was free to "public officials, 
newspapers, and agencies of a public or semi-public character 


equipped to disseminate the official information it will con- 
tain/' It was posted in every military camp and in each of the 
54,000 postoffices. 

Individual subscriptions cost $53 year a fairly high figure 
for a government publication but purposely fixed there to allay 
the fears of newspapers that the government was trying to take 
business away from them. These fears were groundless, for paid 
circulation was never important. On December 31, 1918, Mr. 
Rochester estimated that total subscription revenue had 
amounted to $80,000 (which would be the equivalent of only 
16,000 one-year subscriptions) . 

Total cost of the Bulletin cannot be fixed exactly, but in 
June 1918 Carl Byoir told Congress that in its first year the 
daily had cost $194,609.40, and that he estimated its average 
cost in the last few months to have been about $21,000 a 

The Bulletin, of course, was never a real newspaper; it was 
a glorified release sheet. But renewed explanation of this fact 
was necessary, as in this statement in the May 23, 1917, issue: 
"Exclusive publication is neither the thought nor ambition. It 
will not interfere with the legitimate functions of the press in 
any manner, nor will official news be delayed or withheld in 
order to give the Bulletin any special news significance." But 
sticking to its own conception of its job the Bulletin performed 
an invaluable service not only for the government during the 
World War but for present-day students of that exciting 

The post-war history of the Official Bulletin is interesting. 
Mr. Rochester has told the authors that he made every effort 
to have it continued as a governmental publication, but Con- 
gress refused to authorize the expense, and the paper came out 
for the last time as a government publication with the appear- 
ance of No. 575 on March 31, 1919. But Roger W. Babson, 
who had been establishing contact with business and industrial 
leaders through his work with the CPI, the Department of 
Labor, and his own Wellesley Associates, thought he saw the 
chance for a successful commercial venture. He was allowed to 


take over the mailing list and good will of the Official Bulletin, 
and for a considerable time the legend "Official Gov't News" 
appeared on the paper. (This formed the basis of one of the 
charges against Creel that he had allowed Babson to take a 
government asset but Mr. Creel was at the Peace Conference 
when all this happened.) 

OMiral IwUrttn 





The President to pivcrnors -nm) ropre- 
wntatlrcs of Statr council* of nntionnl 



Tour particular attention li called 



ThT- IMS Ix-eii a general r**poo* to 
Hit- call of the .Swretarjr of the Treasury 

WTTW m * - 

{Of*! * 

*Cw'* : 



\0rden J 
********* *****#** 


VOL, l. No. 17. 


$10.00 A Yi 

United States Owns Greatest Gold 
Stock In the World's History and' 
Largest Favorable Trade Balance 


The "Official Bulletin" as Published under the Creel Committee and 

(below) in the Process of Becoming a Commercial 

News Letter under Roger W. Babson 

Mr. Babson retained Mr. Rochester as editor, changed the 
title to United States Bulletin, moved to a twice-weekly and 
eventually to a weekly schedule, and boosted subscription rates 
to $10 a year. He thus became one of the first in the now busy 
field of publishers of Washington news-letters. Commencing 
with the March 22, 1920, number, all issues were marked 
CONFIDENTIAL, and subscriptions for individuals were 
raised to $52 a year. After a few months Mr. Rochester left 
the enterprise. In the spring of 1921 the United States Bulletin 


Service, as it was then called, was merged with other publica- 
tions of the Babson Institute. 

Two other "legacies" from the ideas of the Official Bulletin, 
though entirely unconnected with it, have followed the original 
more closely than Mr. Babson's news-letter. They are the pri- 
vate United States Daily (now United States News) published 
by David Lawrence and valued for the speed with which it 
furnishes governmental reports more complete than are avail- 
able in many newspapers; and the governmental Federal Reg- 
ister, established on July 26, 1935, under the jurisdiction of 
a committee of which the Archivist of the United States, Dr. 
R. D. W. Conner is chairman, to publish proclamations and 
other documents which the President determines have general 
application and legal effect or which Congress requires to be 


The News Division and the Official Bulletin took care of the 
news columns of the nation's press, but it was inevitable that 
the possibilities for patriotic work through advertising should 
also be exploited. Plans for the CPFs Advertising Division were 
announced at a meeting in the Hotel McAlpin, New York, on 
December 18, 1917, in pursuance of an executive order by the 
President setting up the division. 

William H. Johns of the George Batten Advertising Agency, 
president of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 
and subsequently president of Batten, Barton, Durstine & 
Osborn, was appointed director of the division. Others on the 
board of directors included: Thomas Cusack, leader in the field 
of poster advertising; William D'Arcy, president of the Asso- 
ciated Advertising Clubs of the World; O. C. Harn, chairman 
of the national commission of the Associated Advertising 
Clubs of the World; Herbert S. Houston of Doubleday, Page 
& Co., and onetime president of the A.A.C.W.; Lewis B. Jones 
of the Eastman Kodak Company and president of the Associa- 
tion of National Advertisers; and Jesse H. Neal, secretary of 


Associated Business Papers, representing 500 of the major 
trade and technical publications. 

Carl Byoir, associate chairman of the CPI, was continually 
interested in the work of this division, giving it energetic assis- 
tance throughout its career, and also serving as Washington 
liaison, since the division's headquarters were maintained in 
the Metropolitan Tower, New York. 

Virtually every advertisers' and publishers' association was in 
formal cooperation with the division, and generous help came 
from hundreds of individual advertising agencies and thou- 
sands of newspapers and magazines. 

The most memorable of the publicity campaigns of the 
World War were conceived and executed by this division. The 
list of "clients" includes the Liberty Loans, U.S. Shipping 
Board, War Savings Stamps, Food Administration, War De- 
partment, Training Camp Activities, Department of Agricul- 
ture, Council of National Defense, Department of Labor, Fuel 
Administration, United War Work Drive, Red Cross, and 
many others. 

At first the CPI disclaimed all intention of soliciting con- 
tributions of advertising space from publishers. Mr. Creel 
wrote Edward Percy Howard, editor of the American Press, on 
January 2, 1918: "You are mistaken if you assume that we are 
going to ask the newspapers of the country for any free advertis- 
ing space. This is not my idea, nor will it be done. The adver- 
tisers of the United States organized themselves of their own 
volition, and have absolute control of their own affairs, only 
touching government through this Committee. Their principal 
endeavor, as I understand it, will be in the direction of influ- 
encing the advertisers, not the papers." 

But in this respect, as in certain others, Mr. Creel was not 
able to keep complete control over the actions of an indepen- 
dent body which had been given governmental authority and 
prestige. The same end that Mr. Creel had disclaimed in his 
letter to Mr. Howard was achieved by the Division of Adver- 
tising through indirection: publishers' associations, frequently 



SHALL this war make Germany's word the highest law in the world ? 
Read what she expects. Here are the words of her own spokesmen. 
Then ask yourself where Germany would have the United States 
stand after the war. 

Shall we bow to Germany's wishes assist German ambition? 
No. The German idea must be so completely crushed that it will 
never again rear its venomous head. 

It's a fight, as the President said, "to the last dollar, the last drop 
of blood." 

The President's Flag Day Speech, With 
Evidence of Germany's plans. 32 

The War Message and the Facts Be- 
hind It. 32 pages- 
The Nation in Arms. 16 pages. 
Why We Fight Germany. 
War, Labor and Peace. 


Conquest and Kultur. 160 pages. 
German War Practices. 06 pages. 
Treatment of German Militarism and 

German Critics. 
The German War Code. 



Contributed through DivU- 
on of AdY.-rtl.inn, United 
State* CoverBM't Committee 
on Public I. formation 

George Creel, Chairaa 
The Secretary of State 
The Secretary of War 
The Secretary of the Navy 

This space contributed for the Winning of the War by 
The Publisher of / ^ . 

Advertisement in the "American Magazine" Cities on the Map Bear 

Such Names as Heineapolis and Ach Looey. Note the 

"American Reservation" in the Southwest 

headed by members of the CPI division, sent letters to their 
own membership. For instance, here is a quotation from a 
mimeographed letter sent to editors of farm papers on the 
stationery of the Agricultural Publishers Association, of which 
Frank E. Long (a member of the CPI cooperating committee) 
was president: 

"It seems that most all worthy publications have manifested 
a great interest by regularly contributing, and it is now up to 
the farm papers to show their patriotism and liberality. The 
Committee for Farm Papers must act on its own initiative, be- 
cause the government ruling is very strict in its instructions that 
all contributions should be voluntary and that aid of this kind 
must come spontaneously from those who are patriotic and 
have a desire to help. It is perfectly proper for each group inter- 
est to make its own appeal for assistance in this direction 
through its committee, but not in the name of the govern- 

Copy prepared by the Advertising Division was often given 
a special slant according to the public it was supposed to reach. 
The layout "Bachelor of Atrocities" (see Chapter VII) was for 
college papers and alumni magazines, and special appeals of 
other sorts were prepared for farmers, laborers, businessmen, 
and many other groups. Sometimes the patriotic message could 
be joined with a commercial appeal. This was the case with 
advertising carried by the Wear-Ever Magazine of the Alumi- 
num Cooking Utensil Company at New Kensington, Penn- 
sylvania. Space was offered in this house organ, and several 
hundred demonstrating salesmen were urged to distribute 
patriotic literature and display cards, and also to help put 
across the government's message during their demonstrations. 
In a typical issue the Wear-Ever Magazine started off with a 
war poem, "The Service Flag," proceeded through an article 
"How Wear-Ever Utensils Are Helping to Win the War," and 
then came to an article entitled "Patriotism and Profit" reading 
in part: 

"It is possible and entirely practical for you, as a Wear-Ever 
dealer, to demonstrate and advertise Wear-Ever aluminum 


utensils in a way that will greatly aid the U.S. Food and Fuel 
Administrations and at the same time realize a profit from 
which to buy Liberty Bonds, pay war taxes, and contribute to 
the Y.M.C.A. or Red Cross. 

To save food is as important as to raise it/ If, therefore, 
you have printed over your name in your local newspaper or 
newspapers the canning and preserving advertisements repro- 
duced in this connection or if you have proofs of the advertise- 
ments printed and mailed with statements or letters, or dis- 
tributed from house to house you can at once realize a profit 
and render a distinct, patriotic service . . . thereby . . . help- 
ing to make certain that 'Food Will Win the War/ ' 

Through whatever means of pressure or patriotic inspiration, 
publishers were induced to donate advertising space in such 
abundance that it is almost impossible to pick up a periodical 
of the war years without finding one or more pages devoted to 
the message of the CPI. Advertisers themselves bought space 
from the papers and then donated it to the CPI, and private 
individuals also contributed. An obviously incomplete sum- 
mary of donated space shows the following: 

Type of Advertising Insertions Circulation Amount 
General magazines 1,512 351,409,159 $895,108.29 
Farm papers M43 1 34> 2 79>&95 361,221.84 
Trade and miscel- 
laneous pubs. 4,353 41,377,554 238,102.47 
House organs 831 14,386,475 52,727.50 

Outdoor display 7 8,550.00 

Newspapers 653 6,272,636 17,567.60 

College papers 377 1,107,429 12,337.01 
Book jackets 

(amount est.) 116 7,700.00 

Theater curtains 75 1,500.00 

Total 9,367 548,833,148 $1,594,814.71 

Outdoor advertising valued at thousands and thousands of 
dollars is not included here, nor are the 60,000 window dis- 

[ 100 ] 

plays, many of them elaborate and costly, prepared by the 
national war service committee of the International Association 
of Display Men. 

Advertising copy turned out by the Division was powerful, 
as the few examples shown in this book suggest. This copy 
restated in vivid, memorable terms the concepts behind Presi- 
dent Wilson's war program, news items from the front, or 
scholarly interpretations given by the CPI Division of Civic 
and Educational Cooperation. But the phase of CPI advertis- 
ing which is remembered most clearly today is the brilliant 
work of illustration which frequently told the entire story and 
required only two or three words of copy. This was the work 
of the Division of Pictorial Publicity. 

On April 17, 1917, the Society of Illustrators was meeting at 

the Hotel Majestic, New York, to consider how American 
artists might help their country. Many were already hard at 
work through the patriotic group known as The Vigilantes, but 
they wanted to do something more and did not know just what 
it should be. While the meeting was in progress, Charles Dana 
Gibson was handed a telegram from George Creel asking him 
to appoint a committee of artists to help the government with 
pictorial publicity. 

On April 22, Mr. Gibson met Mr. Creel at the latter's house, 
and the CPI Division of Pictorial Publicity was launched just 
nine days after George Creel himself started work. 

Charles Dana Gibson was an ideal leader for the division. 
He had talent, professional prestige, and a burning desire to 
serve his country. As America's most famous illustrator and 
outstanding contributor to Life (at that time the American 
counterpart of Punch) he would have been widely known in 
any event, but there was a special reason for his popularity: the 
Gibson Girls which he drew had become part of our culture, 
and there must have been few literate Americans in 1917 who 
did not know Charles Dana Gibson and his work. 


Frank De Sales Casey was chosen by Gibson as his assistant 
and held the offices of vice-chairman and treasurer. The job as 
treasurer was a sinecure. The artists insisted on presenting their 
paintings to the government without compensation, and Gib- 
son himself not only contributed his own expensive talent and 
his administrative ability but, for a long period, paid the 
division's operating expenses out of his own pocket. Both he 
and Casey paid their travelling expenses for a long time. Later 
the government assumed this expense, and carried the payroll 
of the one-man office force, but the whole great picture cam- 
paign, from beginning to end, cost the government only 

The list of associate chairmen serving under Gibson was a 
Who's Who of American art Herbert Adams, E. H. Blash- 
field, Ralph Clarkson, Cass Gilbert, Oliver Dennett Grover, 
Arthur T. Matthews, Joseph Pennell, Edmond C. Tarbell, 
Francis C. Jones, and Douglas Volk. Most of these were in- 
cumbent or past presidents of such distinguished groups as the 
National Academy of Design or the Society of American Ar- 
tists and had a tremendous following both within and without 
the profession. The division included landscapists, portrait 
painters, etchers, lithographers, architects, illustrators, car- 
toonists, and apparently every other branch of the profession. 

Gibson and Casey, who had their office at 200 Fifth Avenue, 
New York, travelled extensively, and some of the associate 
chairmen set up branch organizations in their own cities 
Grover in Chicago, Tarbell in Boston, and Matthews in San 
Francisco. Competitions were never held because it was felt 
that the great mass of entries would be worthless, causing a 
mountain of extra work and probably resulting in injured feel- 
ings. Each job was assigned, usually by Casey. 

"Casey knows every artist in town/' was Gibson's proud 

The method of translating ideas to the drawing-board or 
easel was explained by Gibson in a New YorJc Times magazine 
article on January 20, 1918: 

"We have a meeting every Friday night. This takes place at 


our headquarters, 200 Fifth Avenue, where we meet men who 
are sent to us with their requests by the different departments 
at Washington. The meeting is adjourned to Keene's Chop 
House, where we have dinner. 

"Suppose we have with us someone from the Food Adminis- 
trator's office, sent to us so that we can get more clearly in mind 
the needs of his division through personal contact. Casey, once 
having got the suggestion, picks out two of the best men he 
thinks can be found for the work, and at dinner he places them 
on each side of the official emissary. In the course of the dinner 

A Famous Gibson Drawing, Widely Reprinted from "Life" 

views are exchanged on all sides, and we come to understand 
one another pretty thoroughly/' 

Every week Casey journeyed to Washington with a 75- 
pound container of drawings the newest products of Amer- 
ica's Blashfields and Pennells and Christys and Flaggs and 
when he returned he brought a new list of the requirements of 
the United States Government. 

This was the campaign that has been called "The Battle of 
the Fences," and although there were many soldiers in that bat- 
tle none was carried along on a wave of higher idealism than 
Gibson himself. It has been said that no artist has ever pro- 
duced a grander figure of Uncle Sam than Gibson's "tall, 
stalwart, and muscular in his starry coat and striped breeches, a 
figure of homely, Lincolnesque dignity." Even before our 
entry into the war, Gibson's cartoons, prominently displayed in 
the pro-Ally Life, helped build the spirit which was now pre- 
dominant in American life. His Miss Columbias became "the 
noblest types of Gibson Girl," and the vicious drawings of the 
Kaiser, the Crown Prince, and the whole Junker class are the 
pictures of those men that remain in the minds of many people 
today "The thin, cruel hauteur of the Crown Prince. The 
Kaiser, hollow-eyed, despicable with cringing bravado, his 
hands bloody, the mark of Cain on his forehead. A more 
damning caricature has never been drawn." Thus wrote Gib- 
son's biographer, Fairfax Downey, who added: 

"The war had moved him as politics never had been able to 
do. The scorn, the elation, the passionate conviction which 
make a great cartoonist now were his. Color for a time was for- 
gotten in the power which surged genii-like from his ink bottle. 
Never had he drawn with such vigor and verve. His soldiers 
fixed bayonets and leapt into action. Columbia's robe swept 
back outlining her beautifully molded body as she rushed for- 
ward toward victory." 

Gibson constantly urged his co-workers to make their posters 
represent ideas, not things. A drawing that drew his special 
anger was a food-conservation poster with the representation 

[ 10 4 ] 

of a garbage can and the exhortation to cheat the garbage can 
and beat the Kaiser. In his New York Times article he said: 

"We have been looking at this matter [war posters and war 
art] heretofore too much from the material side. We must see 
more of the spiritual side of the conflict. We must picture the 
great aims of this country in fighting this war. They already 
have been pictured in words by the President, and I want to 
say now that he is the greatest artist in the country today, be- 
cause he is an idealist. He is the great Moses of America. He 
points out the promised land, the milk and honey. The work of 
the artist will be made easy by putting into pictorial form the 
last message of the President/' 

The division served virtually every government department 
and relief organization, and was of course in a very special rela- 
tionship to the CPI Division of Advertising. Shortly after the 
advertising unit was set up, Carl Byoir wrote to its director, 
William Johns, suggesting that the two branches of the CPI 
should work together. On January 28, 1918, Mr. Johns replied: 
"We are already in active cooperation/' 

In the Complete Report of the CPI it is revealed that Mr. 
Gibson and his associates made 700 poster designs, 122 car- 
cards, 310 advertising illustrations, and 287 cartoons. Thou- 
sands of other patriotic works were executed independently of 
the CPI. Not included in this calculation but taking an im- 
portant place in the whole CPI program were the nineteen seals 
and buttons which brought in a new era of "outdoor advertis- 
ing worn on the person/' 

One of the great undertakings of the Division of Pictorial 
Publicity was a huge canvas, 90 x 25 feet, in front of the New 
York Public Library, painted in the presence of great crowds to 
stimulate sales of Liberty Bonds. From outlines blocked on the 
canvas the artists painted allegorical figures representing the 
different branches of the service and the Allied nations. 

Henry Reuterdahl and N. C. Wyeth worked on another 
90 x 25 painting at the Subtreasury Building for the Third 

Liberty Loan, and Lieutenant Reuterdahl made three paint- 
ings, each more than 20 feet in height, for the promotion of the 
Fourth Liberty Loan drive in Washington. 

In the United War Work Campaign the same plan was 
adopted, and seven artists worked in shifts on a large painting 
at the Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum. 

Joseph Pennell was authorized by the government to make a 
series of war lithographs of munitions factories, navy yards, 
military camps, and so on, similar to the series he did for the 
British government in the book War WorJc in England. The 
United States series appeared in the volume Joseph Pennelfs 
Pictures of War Worlc in America. 

Pennell was invited to do the same thing for France, but was 
unable to finish the work. However, on request from General 
Pershing, Mr. Gibson and a committee chosen from his 
division selected eight men who were given captain's commis- 
sions and ordered to join the A.E.F. They were J. Andre Smith, 
Walter J. Enright, Harvey Dunn, George Wright, William J. 
Aylward, Harry Townsend, Wallace Morgan, and Ernest C. 
Peixotto. Nearly 300 of their works were sent back to this 
country, and were widely exhibited and reproduced in maga- 
zines and elsewhere. This collection was one of the highlights 
in the great Allied War Salon, arranged by Albert E. Gallatin 
at the American Galleries. 

A small number of the works of art turned out by the Di- 
vision of Pictorial Publicity are reproduced in this book. Many 
others will never fade from the memory of Americans who saw 
them. Even during the war their artistic value was widely rec- 
ognized, and the hobby of collecting war posters was common. 
Today they have the additional value of historical documents 
and the library with a full collection is fortunate indeed. But 
the perfect tribute to the Division of Pictorial Publicity, the 
most accurate chronicle of "The Battle of the Fences/' is 
found in Wallace Irwin's poem: 

[ 106] 

By Wallace Irwin 

I stand by a fence on a peaceable street 
And gaze on the posters in colors of flame, 

Historical documents, sheet upon sheet, 

Of our share in the war ere the armistice came. 

And I think about Art as a Lady-at-Arms; 

She's a studio character most people say, 
With a feminine trick of displaying her charms 

In a manner to puzzle the ignorant lay. 

But now as I study that row upon row 

Of wind-blown engravings I feel satisfaction 

Deep down in my star-spangled heart, for I know 
How Art put on khaki and went into action. 

There are posters for drives now triumphantly o'er 

I look with a smile reminiscently fond 
As mobilized Fishers and Christys implore 

In a feminine voice, "Win the War Buy a Bond/" 

There's a Jonas Lie shipbuilder, fit for a frame; 

Wallie Morg's 'Teed a Fighter" lurks deep in his trench; 
There's a Blashfield's Columbia setting her name 

In classical draperies, trimmed by the French. 

Charles Livingston Bull in marine composition 
Exhorts us to Hooverize (portrait of bass). 

Jack Sheridan tells us that Food's Ammunition 
We've all tackled war biscuits under that class. 

See the winged Polish warrior that Benda has wrought/ 
Is he private or captain? I cannot tell which, 

For printed below is the patriot thought 

Which Poles pronounce "Sladami O/cow Naszych." 

There's the Christy Girl wishing that she was a boy, 
There's Leyendecker coaling for Garfield in /cans, 

There's the Montie Flagg guy with the air of fierce joy 
Inviting the public to Tell the Marines. 


And the noble Six Thousand they count up to that 

Are marshalled before me in battered review. 
They have uttered a thought that is All in One Hat 

In infinite shadings of red, white, and blue. 

And if brave Uncle Sam Dana Gibson, please bow 

Has called for our labors as never before, 
Let him stand in salute in acknowledgment now 

Of the fighters that trooped from the studio door. 


Closely allied to the Division of Pictorial Publicity (though 
not in organizational tie-up) was the Bureau of Cartoons, 
which was established May 28, 1918, to "mobilize and direct 
the scattered cartoon power of the country for constructive war 
work/' The bureau was under the general direction of the 
CPFs Executive Division and was headed by Alfred M. Sapers- 
ton until his enlistment in the marine aviation service, when he 


rat ucurtmr or rat ittrr 

Bureau of Cartoons 

Bulletin No. 25 


NOVEMBER 30, 1918 

108 ] 

was succeeded by Gretchen Leicht. George J. Hecht, a non- 
salaried volunteer, established the division in the first place and 
always had unofficial supervision of the work. 

The major activity of the bureau was publication of the 
Weekly Bulletin for Cartoonists, which had a mailing list of 
750 of the leading American cartoonists, to whom it dispatched 
ideas and captions for drawings to support ideas which some 
branch of the government wished emphasized at that particu- 
lar time. As an illustration, here are some of the captions sug- 
gested for the sale of War Savings Stamps in 1918: 

"Stamp" Out the Kaiser 

Make Thrift Your Buy-Word 

Insure Prosperity for Posterity by Buying War Savings 


He Also Serves Who Stays and Saves 
Some Give Their Lives Will You Loan Your Savings? 
Invest Your Money and Divest the Kaiser 

Through the Weekly Bulletin it was possible to gear "the 
nation's cartoon power" directly to whatever national drive 
was under way at the moment conservation of food or fuel, 
Liberty Bonds, no Sunday motoring, Red Cross, no profiteer- 
ing, and so on. Thirty-seven different agencies forwarded their 
ideas to cartoonists through the medium of the Bulletin. 

In addition to this work, the Bureau of Cartoons took the 
best drawings produced anywhere in the country and either 
syndicated them nationally or turned them over to the particu- 
lar agency to which they would give the most direct help. 


Presumably even illiterate people could understand the mes- 
sage of the Advertising Division and the Bureau of Cartoons, 
and most people who could read at all were capable of grasping 
the significance of newspaper headlines. But the CPI recog- 
nized that many Americans are not habitually careful readers 
of news columns, or, even if they are, are incapable of making 
interpretation: for many people the closest approach to knowl- 

[ 10 9 ] 

edge and understanding of the forces behind current events 
came through Sunday supplements and similar feature mate- 
rial. Even for citizens on a higher plane of literacy, fiction 
rather than news was frequently a more customary means of 
contact with the outside world. 

With all this in mind, the CPI set up the Division of Syndi- 
cate Features in August 1917, placing L. Ames Brown in 
the post of director and calling on the services of fifty leading 
writers, many of whom had previously done similar work with 
the private group known as The Vigilantes. The list of CPI 
feature writers included some of the best and most expensive 
bylines in America, among others Samuel Hopkins Adams, 
Booth Tarkington, Ellis Parker Butler, Meredith Nicholson, 
Mary Roberts Rinehart, Wallace Irwin, John Erskine, Rex 
Beach, and many others. Harvey O'Higgins, associate chair- 
man of the CPI, made this division his special pet. Mr. Brown, 
the first director of this division, had been White House cor- 
respondent of the New York Sun, and after the war was presi- 
dent of Lord & Thomas and Logan. When he left the CPI to 
become chief intelligence officer of the Shipping Board, he 
was succeeded by W. McLeod Raine, a Denver newspaperman 
and novelist whose present-day bibliography includes fifty-two 
full-length books, mostly "westerns." In addition to Mr. Raine 
the staff of the division included Patrick Gallagher, Donald L. 
Breed, James Collins, and Arthur E. McFarlane. 

In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, 
Carl Byoir gave a perfect example of the way in which the 
Division of Syndicate Features was able to reach a tremendous 
public inaccessible through regular news channels: 

"Take the Lichnowsky memoir, which was probably the 
most damning document in proof of the fact that Germany 
started the great war. It had very little newspaper circulation 
originally; it was confined to one great metropolitan newspaper 
in the original announcement. Through the syndicate features, 
we furnished that important document to every Sunday paper 
in the United States, and it got wide circulation. It gave any 


minds where there might have been doubt the story from 
Germany's own ambassador to England as to the fact that 
Germany had not tried to meet England's efforts to prevent 
the war/' 

Another example was given by Mr. Creel in testimony 
before the same committee: "Mrs. [Mary Roberts] Rinehart, 
who has a son in the Army and is, I think, one of the best 
writers in the country, was going on a summer vacation. I said 
to her, Why not visit the cantonments and the fleet, telling 
the people what you see?' Her standing precluded even the 
thought of an attempt to influence her observations. She gave 
up her vacation and did the work as a contribution to govern- 
ment." The story ran in daily and Sunday papers and was sent 
by boilerplate to more than 12,000 weekly publications. 

In addition to soliciting the work of novelists, short-story 
writers, and essayists for broadcast distribution by the CPI, the 
Division also furnished facts and ideas for a number of articles, 
books, and works of fiction to be published independently. 
This was done only "where the writers are so high class that we 
know they are not going to put out any trashy or stupid stuff." 

The Division of Syndicate Features was a popularizer, on 
a plane of easy understanding and high reader interest, of the 
material both from the News Division and from the Division 
of Civic and Educational Cooperation. Under the best bylines 
obtainable, it presented in easily assimilable form information 
regarding not only the movement of events but also regarding 
the broad social, political, and philosophical ideas which ani- 
mated the national leaders. The features were believed to 
reach 12,000,000 people per month, before work was neces- 
sarily curtailed by the cutting of the CPI budget after June 

30, 1918. 

* * * 

So the fighting with printer's ink was carried on vigorously 
on many fronts during the war, with George Creel as editor- 
in-chief of the whole great publishing venture. Unless a person 
chanced upon one of the rare "disloyal" publications, any 

[in ] 

news story, feature, picture, cartoon, poster, book, short-story 
dealing with the war either carried the official seal of the CPI, 
or carried no less clearly, to our latter-day eyes, the stamp of 
CPI influence. 

But the Creel Committee made its approach to the people 
not only through the eye but also through the ear. The Four- 
Minute Men organization, America's "broadcasting network" 
during the World War, is the subject of the next chapter. 


Chapter 5 



PRESIDENT WILSON delivered his war message to Con- 
gress three years before KDKA sent out the first radio 
broadcast and six years before the beginning of networks. 
Yet George Creel's Committee on Public Information main- 
tained daily contact with the American people through a de- 
vice as ingenious and effective for its day as broadcasting sys- 
tems are for ours. 

The famous Four-Minute Men served as America's "nation- 
wide hookup" during the World War. Instead of the voice of 
a single speaker carried through the ether to distant points, 
there was a mighty chorus of 75,000 individual voices scat- 
tered through the country but united under CPI leadership 
for coordinated and synchronized expression of Wilsonian 
doctrine. These voices were of many timbres, representing 
many personalities, but at any given moment each Four- 
Minute Speaker dealt with the same subject and exhorted his 
audience toward the same goal. The Four-Minute Men were 
so many separate loud-speakers, reproducing with greater or 
less fidelity the words of Woodrow Wilson as interpreted by 
the CPI. 

George Creel said that the Four-Minute Men were "carry- 
ing the flaming arrow into every corner of America/' Their 
oratory was a nightly feature in virtually every movie house, 
and eventually in every place where Americans gathered for 
a communal purpose. 

The movie theater, however, was the real center of activity. 
Movie advertising in local papers gave each day not only the 
name of the cinema attraction but also the name of the Four- 
Minute Man assigned to that particular theater. At the movie 

house itself, when the hero and heroine had walked hand in 
hand into the sunset, ending the "first show" of the evening, 
the pianist might shift from "Hearts and Flowers" to "Over 
There," a slide would be thrown on the screen and one of Mr. 
Creel's Four-Minute Men would take the stage. 



Will speak four minutes on a 
subject of national importance 

He speaks under the authority of 


In some future national emergency, a speaker's group like 
the Four-Minute Men may not be necessary, thanks to the 
radio, although it will be remembered that the technique was 
used in many localities during the effort to arouse patriotic 
enthusiasm for the inauguration of NRA. But during the 
World War the four-minute speech was a brilliant substitute 
for a means of communication which technology had not yet 

The beginning of this unusual branch of the CPI is en- 
gagingly described by Mr. Creel in How We Advertised 

"In the very first hours of the Committee, when we were 
still penned in the Navy Library, fighting for breath, a hand- 
some rosy-cheeked youth burst through the crowd and caught 
my lapel in a death-grip. His name was Donald Ryerson. He 
confessed to Chicago as his home, and the plan that he pre- 
sented was the organization of volunteer speakers for the 
purpose of making patriotic talks in motion-picture theaters. 

He had tried the scheme in Chicago, and the success of the 
venture had catapulted him on the train to Washington and 
to me." 

With a speed of decision typical of Mr. Creel in any cir- 
cumstances but the almost invariable rule during the exciting 
life of the CPI, he gave his assent in ten minutes and the hand- 
some rosy-cheeked youth "rushed out" carrying appointment 
as director of a new speaker's service to be called the Four- 
Minute Men. 

The background of Mr. Ryerson's eager approach to Mr. 
Creel was given in the historical number of the Four-Minute 
Men News: 

"In March 1917 a group of young businessmen in Chicago, 
headed by Donald M. Ryerson, following a suggestion of Sena- 
tor Medill McCormick, conceived the idea of forming them- 
selves into a patriotic committee for the purpose of sending 
speakers into the motion-picture theaters of Chicago to lay 
before the people the urgent reasons for new military service 
requirements as proposed at that time in the Chamberlain 

"Mr. Donald M. Ryerson acted as president of the original 
organization, to which the title of Four-Minute Men was given 
in dual reference to the Minute Men of the Revolutionary 
War and to the time limit necessarily imposed. . . . This or- 
ganization was incorporated under a state charter on April 
28, 1917. . . . Mr. Ryerson himself made the first four-minute 
speech at the Strand Theater, Chicago, about April i or 2. ..." 

When the Chamberlain Bill was pushed aside in favor of 
some form of Selective Draft, Mr. Ryerson came to Washing- 
ton to confer with the Council of National Defense on how 
his group could help, and it was thus that he met Mr. Creel. 

The chairman of the CPI gave him authority to go ahead 
with his plan on a nationwide basis, and he was catapulted 
on another train back to Chicago where, for a few weeks, 
national headquarters of the Four-Minute Men were main- 
tained and where the first four of the Four-Minute Men Bui- 

letins were published. Headquarters were moved to Washing- 
ton about June 10, 1917. 

By the time of the First Liberty Loan campaign the Four- 
Minute Men had a national organization of 1,500 speakers 
which seemed an impressive number at the time, but was only a 
beginning. Mr. Ryerson's first idea of organization by Federal 
Reserve Districts was changed for a state-by-state set-up, but 
in most other important particulars except size the Four- 
Minute Men idea came to the CPI in finished form. 

Contact with the army of speakers was maintained through 
the Four-Minute Men Bulletin, in the first issue of which Mr. 
Ryerson gave instructions: 


The speech must not be longer than four minutes, which means there 
is no time for a single waste word. 

Speakers should go over their speech time and time again until the 
ideas are firmly fixed in their mind and can not be forgotten. This does 
not mean that the speech needs to be written out and committed, al- 
though most speakers, especially when limited in time, do best to commit. 

Divide your speech carefully into certain divisions, say 15 seconds for 
final appeal; 45 seconds to describe the bond; 15 seconds for opening 
words, etc., etc. Any plan is better than none, and it can be amended every 
day in the light of experience. 

There never was a speech yet that couldn't be improved. Never be 
satisfied with success. Aim to be more successful, and still more success- 
ful. So keep your eyes open. Read all the papers every day, to find a new 
slogan, or a new phraseology, or a new idea to replace something you have 
in your speech. 

For twenty-five days the steadily growing number of speak- 
ers devoted their oratorical energy to the First Liberty Loan; 
then, for seven days, the national Red Cross Drive, and so on 
through thirty-six distinct drives everything from purely hor- 
tatory material to induce a desired state of mind to specific 
appeals for conservation of food and fuel, investment in war 
loans, or donation of binoculars to the Navy. 

The First Liberty Loan, with an announced goal of $2,000,- 
000,000, had been 52 per cent oversubscribed, and the Four- 
Minute Men were justified in the claim that they had contrib- 
uted importantly to this remarkable showing. From the time 


of that triumphant first experience on a national scale, the 
Four-Minute Men program was certain of success. Increasing 
cooperation came from theater owners, from government de- 
partments, and from volunteer speakers. 

Liberty Loan committees were helpful in getting speakers 
during the early stages, though later on men already enrolled 
were the most effective in bringing in recruits. In many cases 
the Four-Minute Men worked through State Councils of 
Defense, asking the governor in each state to select a state 
director and to make the speaking program part of the Coun- 
cil's regular work. 

Local chairmen were named for most towns, and often 
were self-nominated, though before receiving official recog- 
nition they were required to present written endorsements 
from "three prominent businessmen, bankers, professional, or 
public men." A small sum of money had to be raised for local 
expenses, but Washington supplied slides and literature. 

The most important job for the local chairmen was to choose 
the speakers. In this connection they were warned against 
local spellbinders: "Well known speakers are too accustomed 
to longer speeches with room for anecdotes and introduction, 
and should be avoided for this service in favor of young law- 
yers and businessmen who will present messages within the 
four-minute limit forcefully, rather than originate speeches." 

Chairmen were told to rotate assignments to theaters so 
that speakers would not go stale with the audience. They were 
warned, also, not to break in on a photoplay, but to speak 
during the first intermission occurring after 8:00 p.m. 

There was no dearth of applicants for speaking jobs. Mr. 
Creel says: "Men of the most unlikely sort had the deep con- 
viction that they were William J. Bryans, and when rejected 
by local organizations many of them travelled clear to Wash- 
ington for the purpose of delivering a four-minute speech to 
me in order that I might see for myself the full extent of the 
injustice to which they had been subjected." But if men of 
this sort were admitted to the organization through error, 
every effort was made to eliminate them: "The ax fell heavily 

whenever a speaker failed to hold his audiences, or injected a 
note of partizanship, or else proved himself lacking in restraint 
or good manners/' 

And in spite of the effort to keep high standards, the num- 
ber of Four-Minute Men grew and grew. In September 1918 
it had reached 40,000 and in only two months more had 
nearly doubled, reaching the final total of 75,000. In its final 
development this division of the CPI had 7,629 formally 
established branches, including 217 colleges and 51 granges, 
and covering not only every state in the union but also Alaska, 
Panama Canal Zone, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, 
Philippine Islands, Porto Rico, and Samoa! 

But, with all of these speakers and local chairmen, the plan 
would not work without the help of the theaters. Most man- 
agers wanted to be patriotic and cooperative, but some feared 
that if they let in the Four-Minute Men other patriotic groups 
would ask the same privilege. The CPI found it useful, there- 
fore, to have the endorsement of the National Association of 
Motion Picture Industry, which named the Four-Minute Men 
as the official and authorized representatives of the United 
States Government in the movie theaters of America. This 
endorsement was obtained through William A. Brady, presi- 
dent of the trade group, on condition that the government 
departments name the CPI as their official speaking bureau. 
On June 16, 1917, Mr. Creel announced receipt of such state- 
ments from R. W. Wooley, director of publicity for the Lib- 
erty Loan, and from Herbert Hoover, director of the Food 
Administration. Two days later similar authorization came 
from Henry P. Davison, national chairman of the Red Cross, 
and from then on the entire support of exhibitors was secured. 

Donald Ryerson, who had cradled the idea of the Four- 
Minute Men, did not stay long in the directorship. Early in 
June he took up his commission in the Navy, from which he 
had secured a brief furlough for the CPI work. He was suc- 
ceeded by William McCormick Blair, under whom the divi- 
sion had its period of greatest development. With boundless 
energy he perfected the state organizations, inaugurated the 

inspection service to weed out poor speakers, made changes 
in the Four-Minute Men Bulletin, and set up a National 
Advisory Council including Professor S. H. Clark of the De- 
partment of Public Speaking at the University of Chicago, 
the novelist Samuel Hopkins Adams, and other distinguished 




, IDlS 

Bulletin No. 24 

The Danger to Democracy 



1 I T/jeFntentePowCfj c 

Territory ceased by Centra* 





Front Page of a 'Tour-Minute Men" Bulletin 

In a tribute by Mr. Blair's successor, it was said: "A splen- 
did, straight-standing young American is Blair. . . . More than 

an incident is his smile the sort that mirrors a conscience 
which has not been clouded and a body full of health. I like 
to think of Blair as the type which only the free institutions 
of America can produce/' 

When Blair left for Camp Zachary Taylor as a volunteer 
on August 31, 1918, William H. Ingersoll took his place. The 
new director had been one of the first members of the National 
Advisory Council and had written several of the most im- 
portant Bulletins. He held the post until the division was de- 
mobilized December 31, 1918. 

In hearings before the House Appropriations Committee, 
when it was suggested that the Four-Minute Men might be 
used for partisan purposes, Mr. Creel said to the Congress- 
men: "I feel that is a very real danger, but quite fortunately 
those in charge of the Four-Minute Men [Ryerson and Blair] 
are of the opposite political faith and voted for Mr. Hughes. 

I feel that that in itself is a balance and a check." 

The scope and variety of the great work done by the Four- 
Minute Men is best represented through the titles of the 
forty-six Bulletins. Ten of them were concerned with organi- 
zation details, but the remaining thirty-six represented specific 
campaigns. Here is the list (with corrections not in Mr. Creel's 
Complete Report) : 

Bulletin Period 

No. Topic 1917 

1-2 Universal Service by Selective Draft May 12-21 

3-4 First Liberty Loan May 22-June 15 

5-6 Red Cross June 18-25 

7 Organization 

8-10 Food Conservation July 1-14 

II Why We Are Fighting July 23-Aug. 5 

12 The Nation in Arms Aug. 6-26 

13 The Importance of Speed Aug. 19-26 

14 What Our Enemy Really Is Aug. 27-Sept. 23 

15 Unmasking German Propaganda Aug. 27-Sept. 23 

16 Onward to Victory Sept. 24-Oct. 27 

17 Second Liberty Loan Oct. 8-28 

18 Food Pledge Oct. 2Q-Nov. 4 

19 Maintaining Morals and Morale Nov. 12-25 

20 Carrying the Message Nov. 26-Dec. 22 


21 War Savings Stamps Jan. 2-19 

22 The Shipbuilder Jan. 28-Feb. 9 

23 Eyes for the Navy [appeal for Feb. 11-16 


24 The Danger to Democracy Feb. i8-Mar. 10 

25 Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Feb. 12 

26 The Income Tax Mar. 11-16 

27 Farm and Garden Mar. 25-30 

28 President Wilson's Letter to Theaters Mar. 31 -Apr. 5 

29 Third Liberty Loan Apr. 6-May 4 
7 A Organization (Republished) Apr. 23 

30 Second Red Cross Campaign May 13-25 

31 Danger to America May 27-June 12 

32 Second War Savings Campaign June 24-28 

33 The Meaning of America June 2g-July 29 

34 Mobilizing America's Man Power July 29- Aug. 17 

35 Where Did You Get Your Facts? Aug. 26-Sept. 7 

36 Certificates to Theater Members Sept. 9-14 

37 "Register!" National Registration Aug. 21 


38 Four-Minute Singing Sept. 10 

39 Fourth Liberty Loan Sept. 28-Oct. 19 

40 Food Program for 1919 Oct. 2o-Oct. 26 

41 Fire Prevention Oct. 27-Nov. 2 

42 United War Work Campaign Nov. 3-Nov. 18 

43 Red Cross Home Service Dec. 7 

44 What Have We Won? Dec. 8-14 

45 Red Cross Christmas Roll Call Dec. 15-23 

46 A Tribute to the Allies Dec. 24 


Through these Bulletins the CPI had means of guidance, 
if not of positive control, of its far-flung network of speakers. 
Besides assigning dates and subjects and giving a great deal of 
material for the speeches, the central office continually offered 
suggestions about how the actual talks should be given. Re- 
minders about the four-minute rule appeared repeatedly, and 
an attempt was made to dissuade speakers from bombast and 
the higher flights of inspirational oratory. For instance in the 
Four-Minute Men News, which supplemented the Bulletin, 
one could read in November 1917: 


"Take as an example of strong rhetoric that appeals only to 
those already more than convinced a speech which was sub- 
mitted to us for approval. An excerpt follows: 

While the attainment of the complete surgery of this dread 
disease may be contemplated with satisfaction, yet such result 
will fall far short of full and final compensation for the deliberate 
and dastard wrongs committed upon innocent victims of Ger- 
man treachery and design. The bottomless pit itself is not deep 
enough to hold the crimes so perpetrated, and when the rolls 
thereof shall have been written the totals will be paralyzing to 
the minds of men and the indignation thereat will rise to such 
heights that blindfolded Justice herself will demand and insist 
upon ultimate human penalty established by both law and re- 
ligion, "an eye for an eye," "a tooth for a tooth/' and "blood 
for blood." 

"We are unable to recognize any relation between thoughts 
as expressed above and the inspiring sentiments that breathe 
through every word uttered by our President. 

"Nor are we reminded of any material in our bulletins that 
bears remotely on this speech. . . . Originality in speakers is 
certainly to be encouraged . . . but if a government speaker 
wanders from his subject to express freely personal viewpoints 
he defeats his own purposes. . . . 

"A statement only of patent facts will convince those who 
require argument more readily than 'doubtful disputations/ ' 


This admonition in the News was summed up: "No hymn 
of hate accompanies our message/' 

But the Four-Minute Men, at least a little later, were spe- 
cifically encouraged to use official atrocity stories, and the 
Bulletin for January 2, 1918, listed sixteen different examples 
of Schrectlichkeit from which the speaker could choose his 
illustrations for a talk on War Savings Stamps. 

As an example of what the CPI thought the Four-Minute 
Men should say, here is the complete text of an "Illustrative 
Four-Minute Speech," one of which set the tone for each 
of the nationwide campaigns: 

While we are sitting here tonight enjoying a picture show, do you 
realize that thousands and thousands of Belgians, people just like our- 
selves, are languishing in slavery under Prussian masters? 

Driven into slavery, after they were lured back home by Prussian prom- 
ises Prussian scraps of paper. 

Read the stories of deliberate governm en tally ordered brutalities as told 
in the book, German War Practices, recently published by the Govern- 
ment's Committee on Public Information. 

Read how the Prussian war lords robbed Belgium, pilfered and stole. 
How they extorted fines of millions of francs for trivial reasons e.g. 5,000 
francs [5,000,000?] ($1,000,000) in Brussels because of an attack by a 
policeman; 200,000 marks at Tournai for refusal to send a list of citizens. 
Taxes went to 50,000 francs a month and more in Belgium. 

Prussian "Schrecklichkeit" (the deliberate policy of terrorism) leads 
to almost unbelievable besotten brutality. The German soldiers their 
letters are reprinted were often forced against their wills, they them- 
selves weeping, to carry out unspeakable orders against defenseless old 
men, women, and children, so that "respect" might grow for German 
"efficiency." For instance, at Dinant the wives and children of 40 men 
were forced to witness the execution of their husbands and fathers. 

Now, then, do you want to take the slightest chance of meeting Prus- 
sianism here in America? 

If not, then you'll have to help in summoning all the resources of this 
country for the giant struggle. For resources will win the war. 

Here's the way you can help save our resources. Instead of throwing 
money away on unnecessary things, buy Thrift Stamps, 2 5 cents, and War- 
Savings-Stamps, $4.12, worth $5 in five years, 4 per cent compound in- 
terest. They're good as government money; like a mortgage on the U.S.A. 

Here's one of the War-Savings Certificates, and here's a Thrift Card. Ask 
at any post office, any bank, or store wherever you see a W.S.S. sign. 
It is up to us. We, the people, must win the war. 

As the work of the Four-Minute Men progressed, various 
new wrinkles were developed, and perhaps the most important 
of these innovations was "Four-Minute Singing/' officially in- 
troduced through Bulletin 38 in September 1918. 

"Let us get it going with a swing," was the slogan, and the 
Bulletin advised that if the official Four-Minute Man could 
not himself lead the music he should secure a qualified sub- 
stitute and "be among the others to sing heartily." The indus- 
trial army of the inner lines, it was believed, would be kept at 
a "white heat" of patriotism through the program of song. 
"The Singing Army, whether it be a fighting army or a work- 
ing army, cannot be beaten," said the Four-Minute Men, to 
the delight of music publishers. 

Special slides were prepared for Four-Minute Singing, and 
the list of songs which could be thrown on the screen in this 
way included: 

America There's a Long, Long Trail 

Star Spangled Banner Keep the Home Fires Burning 

Columbia the Gem of Pack up Your Troubles 
the Ocean When You Come Back 

Battle Hymn of the Tramp, Tramp, Tramp 

Republic Saving Food 

Dixie Helping On 

When Johnny Comes America the Beautiful 
Marching Home 

While the main idea of the Four-Minute Men was enjoying 
its phenomenal success in the movie theaters, the plan was 
extended to many other kinds of meetings, and various special- 
ized units were formed. 

A Women's Division was organized to cover matinee per- 
formances in many theaters, as well as meetings of women's 

A Junior Division was also set up and a special School Bulle- 
tin established. Four issues were published, devoted to War 

[X2 4 ] 

Savings Stamps, Third and Fourth Liberty Loan, and the Red 
Cross Christmas Roll Call. Contests for the best junior 
speeches were held in 200,000 schools, either as part of the 
regular public-speaking work or as an extracurricular activity, 
and the winners received government certificates. 

The College Four-Minute Men were organized in Septem- 
ber 1918, usually with public-speaking teachers as chairmen. 
Undergraduates studied the regular Bulletins and other mate- 
rial and delivered at least one speech each semester, most fre- 
quently to their fellow students but sometimes off the campus 
as well. 

Gradually the work was extended to cover more and more 
kinds of meetings churches, synagogues, Sunday Schools, 
lumber camps, lodges, labor unions, social clubs, and even 
gatherings of the Indian tribes. Soldiers were not exempt for, as 
part of the morale program, a system of Four-Minute Speeches 
was devised for the cantonments, with officers delegated to 
speak to the men. Three Army Bulletins were issued by the 
CPI division-"Why We Are Fighting," "Insurance for Sol- 
diers and Sailors," and "Back of the Trenches/' 

Wherever an American might be, unless he lived the life of 
a hermit, it was impossible to escape the ubiquitous Four- 
Minute Men. Judging from the estimated theater and movie 
audience in the fall of 1918, they must have reached several 
million daily. 

In New York City alone, 1,600 speakers addressed 500,000 
people each week in English, Yiddish, or Italian. 

In final estimate, based on incomplete figures but no unrea- 
sonable deductions from them, Mr. Creel set the total number 
of speeches at 1,000,000 and the total audience at 400,000,000. 

Government outlay for all of this was only $140,1 50.40, and 
Mr. Creel believed that free newspaper publicity alone had 
given the Four-Minute Men nearly seven times this value at 
regular advertising rates. One clipping bureau alone showed 
900,000 lines of free publicity in eighteen months. In his Com- 
plete Report Mr. Creel attempted to give a dollars-and-cents 

estimate of the value of the Four-Minute Men, showing a 
breakdown of this sort: 

Contributed expenditures $2,564,970 

One million speeches at $4 each 4,000,000 

"Rent" of theaters, etc., to deliver above 2,000,000 

Speeches (331) of travelling speakers 8> 2 75 

Publicity contributed by press 750,000 

Grand total $9,313,245 

A more Wilsonian statement of value was given, shortly 
after the Armistice, when the President sent a congratu- 
latory open letter to the Four-Minute Men, saying in 
part: "May I say that I, personally, have always taken 
the deepest and most sympathetic interest in your work, 
and have noted, from time to time, the excellent results you 
have procured for the various departments of the government. 
Now that this work has come to its conclusion and the name of 
the Four-Minute Men (which I venture to hope will not be 
used henceforth by any similar organization) has become a 
part of the history of the Great War, I would not willingly omit 
my heartfelt testimony to its great value to the country, and 
indeed to civilization as a whole, during our period of national 
trial and triumph/' 


A new unit, the Speakers' Bureau, joined the Four-Minute 
Men Division of the CPI in September 1918, with }. J. Petti- 
john as its head. But for nearly a year before this it had been 
functioning as the Speaking Division, a separate branch of the 
CPI, under the direction of Arthur E. Bestor, president of the 
Chautauqua Institution. The members of the Speaking Di- 
vision might be called the Four-Hour Men, because in an 
emergency they were good for that period. 

The division was originally established in accordance with 
a letter from President Wilson dated September 25, 1917, in 
an effort to bring order out of the conflicting effort of more 

than a dozen speaking bureaus representing various govern- 
ment departments. 

Under Mr. Bestor the Speaking Division became a great fed- 
eral lecture bureau "to offer a national clearing house for speak- 
ing campaigns." A card catalog of more than 10,000 speakers 
was maintained, and a selected list of 300 of the best was con- 
stantly in use. Engagements by Vice-President Marshall and 
Cabinet officers were regularly made by the division. Liaison 
was maintained not only with government offices but also with 
groups having ready-made audiences, such as Rotary Clubs, 
chautauquas, literary societies, and so on. The United States 
Chamber of Commerce was liberal in its help, not only aiding 
in securing lecture engagements but deluging its local branches 
with advance newspaper material for each address. Direct rela- 
tionship was established with the Treasury Department, De- 
partment of Labor, Council of National Defense, Food Ad- 
ministration, Red Cross, and other groups. It worked closely 
with organizations such as the Friends of German Democracy, 
and it scheduled speakers from the British War Mission, the 
French High Commission, the Italian Embassy, and the Bel- 
gian Legation. 

A series of Speakers Bulletins was inaugurated in January 
1918, but was abandoned shortly to avoid duplicating the 
work of the regular Four-Minute Men Bulletins. 

War conferences, for the instruction and inspiration of 
speakers, were planned by the CPI Speaking Division, though 
usually held under the formal sponsorship of State Councils of 
Defense; forty-five conferences were thus held in thirty-seven 
states. And in April 1918 a much larger project was undertaken 
in the National Conference of American Lecturers at Wash- 
ington, with a program largely controlled by the CPI. Forty- 
five speeches were given at this meeting, and opportunity pro- 
vided for consultation with government officials and with 
representatives of the Allies. 

Some of the most colorful work of the Speaking Division was 
in connection with the American lecture tours of men and 
women from across the ocean. Fifty men from the A.E.F. were 

sent back to this country by General Pershing to aid the Speak- 
ing Division in the Third Liberty Loan, and 344 Belgian sol- 
diers returning from Russia via the U.S. had their transconti- 
nental journey conducted by the Division. 

A company of French Chasseurs "Blue Devils" toured the 
larger cities in picturesque triumph under the chaperonage of 
the Speaking Division, and many prominent officials of both 
the French and British missions made their appearances under 
the same auspices. 

The dashing and fascinating Captain Paul Perigord (now 
professor of French civilization, University of California at Los 
Angeles) , was lionized as "the warrior priest" wherever he went 
on a seven-months tour of the entire country. The Marquis and 
Marquise de Courtivron and the Marquis and Marquise de 
Polignac toured the South and found that the American liking 
for titles strengthened the appeal of their own charm and the 
message they had to deliver. 

But the most sensational lecture tour arranged by the Speak- 
ing Division was that of Wesley Frost, former American consul 
at Queenstown, Ireland, who had taken testimony from sur- 
vivors of eighty-one submarinings, including the Lusitania and 
the Arabic. His speech, given in numerous cities in 1917 and 
1918, was usually called, "The Tragedy of the Lusitania," but 
drew its material from all of the many atrocities which he 
ascribed to U-boat commanders "the Jackals of the Sea." 
Frequently his talks were illustrated with slides, and sometimes 
he spoke for the benefit of specific war charities or drives- 
Liberty Loan, beds for war hospitals, and so on. 

Frost's own sense of drama would have assured him of a good 
press in any event, but through the cooperation of the CPI, the 
State Department, and the United States Chamber of Com- 
merce, local newspapers received a perfect bombardment of 
publicity before Frost's arrival. Gradually it came to be be- 
lieved that Frost was not merely a reporter of tragedy, but that 
he had actually participated in it. When the former consul 

arrived in Butte, Montana, the Daily Post of that city cap- 
tioned its picture on page i: 


Mr. Creel's old employer, the Rocky Mountain News, said: 
"A thousand Denverites sat in the Auditorium last night and 
alternately sobbed and cheered." The Cleveland Plain Dealer 
reported that Frost had described "A Satan's carnival the 
loathesome tomfoolery of a troop of orang-outang gorillas." 
Here is a passage from Frost's Lusitania speech: 

"It was quite black out there on the Atlantic, and in the 
blackness the life-boats alternately rose on the crests of the 
waves and sank into the black valley between. The boats car- 
ried women and children whose hair hung in icicles over their 
shoulders and their half-frozen bodies yielded to the rolling and 
pitching of the frail boats. Now and then a half-dead passenger 
uttered a shriek of pain or of anguish as she realized that a 
friend or relative had died in her arms. Meanwhile, in the dark 
hull of the German submarine, the captain watching through 
the periscope finally turned his head away. Even this man, 
agent of Prussian cruelty, had witnessed a scene upon which he 
did not care to gaze/' 

These are merely dramatic examples of the men and women 
who spoke under the auspices of the Speaking Division. It pro- 
vided more simple fare also, holding charter, as it did, from 
several government departments concerned with less lugu- 
brious subjects than submarinings. But whatever the nature of 
the talks, whether inspirational or merely informative, the CPI 
Speaking Division was the master lecture bureau of the war. 

* * * 

The Four-Minute Men and the Speaking Division together 
cost the government $210,994.14. There is no doubt that 
speakers formed the very spearhead of the CPI assault on in- 
difference and civic apathy. In this respect the Four-Minute 
Men program was one of the most amazing experiments in 
public-opinion management that the world had seen. 

Professor Bertram G. Nelson, associate director of the Four- 
Minute Men Division, expressed it during the war: 

"There are a surprisingly large number of people in every 
community who do not read; there are others who read no 
English; and a still larger number who read nothing but the 
headlines. The most enthusiastic, patriotic meetings get to- 
gether 5,000 people in a city of 500,000; for every one who 
goes and thrills and applauds there are five hundred who stay 
at home, passive and ofttimes indifferent. These silent ones eat 
sugar, bacon and wheat; their vacant minds become the ready 
recipient of German lies; their tongues become the ready trans- 
mitters of German propaganda; their grumblings are heard by 
the quick ear of the politician; they are ofttimes 'the menace 
within the walls/ Yet their sons must help do the fighting; 
their minds, wills, and hearts must become attuned to our 
national purposes. 

"How can we reach them? Not through the press, for they 
do not read; not through patriotic rallies, for they do not come. 
Every night eight to ten million people of all classes, all de- 
grees of intelligence, black and white, young and old, rich and 
poor, meet in the moving picture houses of this country, and 
among them are many of these silent ones who do not read or 
attend meetings but who must be reached/' 

Professor Nelson spoke of what the Four-Minute Men could 
do when Reel 7 came to its end, the theater lights went on, and 
one of his delegates took the stage. But he would have granted 
that films themselves held a vital place in patriotic education 
on the same social and intellectual plane of which he was 

Chapter 6 

A ERICA was thrilling to Theda Bara's "special super 
de luxe photoplay/' Her Greatest Love, when war was 
declared, and Mae Murray was "stampeding a conti- 
nent" in A Mormon Maid. On the legitimate stage, Ruth 
Chatterton was playing Come Out of the Kitchen, and in 
vaudeville Eva Tanguay was convulsing tremendous audiences, 
while Tin Pan Alley, having discovered the Hawaiian Islands, 
made the spurious grass skirt and the paper lei familiar accom- 
paniments of the hula dance from Eastport to San Diego. 
George M. Cohan had just made his movie debut in Broadway 

And then in a few months a great new field was opened to 
the entertainment world. War themes took the center of the 
stage. "Yacki Hacki Wicki Wacki Woo" gave place to "Hinky 
Dinky Parley Voo"; "Indianola" was pushed aside for "Over 
There"; and the bugle and drum supplanted the ukulele and 
the steel guitar. Writers, actors, and musicians still tried to 
make people laugh, and sometimes cry, but now it was for a 
higher purpose and in an ennobling common cause. 

No field of entertainment felt the effect of war more strongly 
than the movies, and none was of greater interest to the CPI. 
Next to the products of Tin Pan Alley the war songs which 
are still familiar though meaningless to young Americans the 
movie film was both the easiest way of presenting propaganda 
in the form of entertainment and one of the important items in 
a broad program of civilian morale. 

The CPI did not enter the movie field in a formal sense until 
July 1917, and the Division of Films was not set up until Sep- 
tember of that year, but an observant American, even during 

the years of our neutrality, might have guessed that sooner or 
later the United States Government would find itself in the 
business of producing and distributing movies. Long before 
our declaration of war the medium had proved itself to be one 
of the most convenient channels of propaganda. 

During those pre-war years, of course, the government had 
nothing to do with the movies, but partisans of both the Allies 
and the Central Powers were hard at work. The most terrifying 
and the most famous of these propaganda films before we en- 
tered the war was The Battle Cry of Peace, showing in blood- 
curdling scenes what would happen to America during the 
coming German invasion of the country. It was based on 
Hudson Maxim's theories of world politics and German atro- 
ciousness, and it made the country's hair stand on end; tre- 
mendous support was given to the campaigns for preparedness 
and belligerence carried on by such groups as the National 
Security League. 

Other films used this bludgeon technique of driving home a 
point, but the indirect approach was also employed. Geraldine 
Farrar was quoted in the Exhibitor's Trade Review for March 
31, 1917: "I knew when I played Joan of Arc for Mr. DeMille's 
picture that it would be, as it is, the greatest of all pro-Ally 

By that fatal first week in April 1917 a dozen or more films 
were practically ready for release to do their part in the pre- 
paredness campaign. Most of these were pushed through to 
completion and, though originally planned for a nation offi- 
cially at peace, became the first of our actual "war pictures." 

One of these was How Uncle Sam Prepares, made by the 
Hanover Film Company "by authority of and under the direc- 
tion of military experts." An allegorical introduction preceded 
scenes of the Army and Navy in various kinds of operations, and 
the Boston Post called the picture, "a stupendous effort on the 
part of the government to stimulate recruiting and increase 
demand for universal training." Then there were preparedness 
serials such as Liberty in twenty episodes and Uncle Sam at 
Work in eleven. 

Most of this early war-minded activity was a hit-or-miss ex- 
ploitation of the most thrilling and absorbing subject of the 
moment. It was not yet a concerted effort in behalf of patri- 



What Is Your Liberty 
Worth To YOU? 

4J The Liberty of the American people is in jeopardy. The cry of 
liberty or death heard in 1776 is echoed in 1917. Every Amer- 
ican industry is contributing huge funds for preparedness to 
strengthen the sinews of the government in this hour when upon 
the test of our force and endurance depends the future independ- 
ence of our people. 

CJ What is the great Motion Picture Industry going to do? 
|| What are you going to do? 

CJj The Associated Motion Picture Advertisers, Inc., has offered its 
services to the government to assist in attracting a patriotic activity 
in behalf of the country in the grave crisis that confronts it, and to 
stimulate interest in enlistments in the various defensive branches 
of the government by attractive posters and slides, and by compel- 
ling advertising and publicity. These services have received the 
support of Active men in the United States Service. 

|J But to accomplish the vital results for which we are striving, we 
must have funds/ Unfortunately the members of the Associated 
Motion Picture Advertisers. Inc., haven't a great deal of money. 
But they are doing their share. 

f]| Are you going to help? 

|J Funds from one cent to a thousand dollars will help will enable us 
to do as much for the government as we would by going out to stop 
a bullet. Checks, money or express orders should be sent to 


Finance Committee.- 

B. P. SCHULBF.RG, Chairman, 

485 Fifth Ave.. N. Y. 

P. S. This trade-paper has. with a fine patriotic impulse, contributed this page. 
gratis, for the purpose of this fund. It means money to Exhibitor's Trade Review. 
Will YOU do as much? 














The Movie Industry Joins Up 
Advertisement in "Exhibitor's Trade Review," April 7, 1917 


otism. But in the April 7, 1917, issue of Exhibitor's Trade Re- 
view (which must have gone to press several days before 
declaration of war) , the advertising division of the industry 
announced its mobilized effort to aid the government in the 
preparedness program. 

Then in the April 21 issue appeared editorials identifying 
the movie industry still more closely with the government pro- 
gram. One impressed upon the producers their lofty mission in 
sustaining morale during "the time of strife and turmoil, of 
suffering and sorrow that is approaching/' Movie makers were 
urged to "have ready and waiting on their shelves pictures of 
happiness, pictures of cheerfulness, and pictures that show the 
brightness and sunshine of life." 

But on the z8th a warning followed this exhortation to 
cheerfulness: "Motion picture producers who are contemplat- 
ing productions with war as their theme will do well to see to 
it, before those pictures are released, that they are not likely in 
any particular to exert an influence prejudicial to the govern- 
ment's prosecution of the present war. . . . There is every 
indication that the federal authorities will suppress such pic- 
tures without hesitation. . . . There is no time now to discuss 
a producer's abstract right to make and market any kind of 
picture he pleases. Probably he possesses that right. But public 
right takes precedence over any private right, especially in time 

r tf 

or war. 

Trade papers such as Exhibitor s Trade Review helped give 
encouragement to the movies' enlistment in the patriotic 
cause, but the industry itself was not slow to act. In response 
to a request from Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo, William 
A. Brady, famous producer and president of the National Asso- 
ciation of the Motion Picture Industry, called a meeting of 
important movie people on May 23, 1917, and a committee 
was appointed to help arouse public interest in the government 
borrowing program. 

This group swung into action immediately, and devised 
plans for theater support in the First Liberty Loan drive. The 
American Banker's Association, through Mr. Brady's com- 

mittee, paid for 30,000 Liberty Loan slides to show on the 
movie screens of America, and each was delivered with a letter 
from Secretary McAdoo to the theater manager. Many in- 
genious publicity plans were concocted, including an early 
version of "Bank Night," with $700 in Liberty Bonds dis- 
tributed at certain theaters each week. 

From the beginning and right on through the Victory Loan, 
movie stars were among the most effective salesmen for Liberty 
Bonds. Theda Bara took in $300,000 in one day at a booth in 
front of the New York Public Library; Douglas Fairbanks 
chartered a special train and, after a whirlwind tour of the 
country, came back with proceeds from $1,000,000 worth of 
bonds that he had sold; Mary Pickford was credited with 
bringing in $2,000,000 on a brief tour of California. The list 
goes on and on like that, and each of these movie people bought 
eye-filling amounts of bonds for himself, and helped the 
government and the relief agencies in countless other ways. 

This shows the patriotic spirit prevalent in the film centers, 
but it was not exploitation of the films themselves for the win- 
ning of the war. The most important step in that direction was 
taken on July 11, 1917, when William A. Brady and other 
members of the industry's War Cooperating Committee came 
to Washington to confer with government officials. Their first 
appointment was with George Creel, who presented a plan 
whereby the War Cooperating Committee would assign a dele- 
gate to each government department to discover how the mo- 
tion picture industry might help meet its needs. 

This plan was adopted by the War Cooperating Committee, 
which included, besides Mr. Brady, such other well known 
figures as William Fox, D. W. Griffith, Thomas H. Ince, Jesse 
L. Lasky, Carl Laemmle, Marcus Loew, Joseph M. Schenck, 
Louis J. Selznick, and Adolph Zukor. 

Thus it was through the patriotic eagerness of the movie 
people themselves that the commercial phase of the wartime 
cinema program was launched with little more than a sugges- 
tion from the government. But there was still a vast field of 
movie work untouched, and Mr. Creel proceeded to exploit it. 

As Mr. Creel told the investigating Congressmen in 1918: 

"We went to the Signal Corps and explained to them our 
view that since new pictures were being made for the historical 
record, there was no reason why these war pictures could not 
be used to good purpose in the United States, so that the peo- 
ple could see the war going on. We worked with them in secur- 
ing the best photographers in the United States. Those men 
went to France and made pictures over there, and the pictures 
were sent back to this country. 

"Then, we sent Army and Navy photographers around to 
the cantonments, to the factories, and to the fields; we sent 
them to the training camps and tried to make a photographic 
record, as far as we could, representing democracy's prepara- 
tion for war. Those pictures we put into single-reel and two-reel 
releases, and even up to eight-reel features, and released them 
all over the United States. We had the captions put in many 
languages and sent these pictures to all parts of the world so 
that other peoples might see what our country is, what our 
institutions are, and how America is rallying to the colors/' 

This entire program, described only in part in Mr. Creel's 
statement, was under the supervision of the CPI Division of 
Films, which was set up by Presidential order on September 25, 
1917. Charles S. Hart was appointed director. He had been 
advertising manager of Hearst's Magazine at a reported 
$10,000 a year and came to the CPI at $3,900, having been 
lured away from a possible Ordnance Department commission 
by Mr. Creel and Mr. Byoir. Starting from scratch, he built up 
in eight months a staff that included more than forty-five 
people, and that by the end of the war was even larger. The 
head office was in New York, another office in Washington, 
and many members of the staff were continually on the road. 

Dr. Guy Stanton Ford said of Mr. Creel in 1918: "Here was 
a man who saw what others had not seen clearly enough in the 
past, that such a thing has infinite possibilities for good if it is 
organized in the right way, and that you can teach through the 
eyes and through these pictures what neither the printed or 

spoken word can teach. He caught the idea, and he pushed 
it. . . ." 

Under Mr. Hart's aggressive administration the CPI Divi- 
sion of Films had five distinct functions: 

1 . Cooperation with photographers of the Signal Corps and 
the Navy in preparing and handling pictures they had taken. 

2. Writing of scenarios and issuance of permits for com- 
mercial films about government work. 

3. Production of the documentary films made entirely by 
the CPI, most of which were finished after the Armistice. 

4. Distribution and promotion of war films whether taken 
by our own government, the Allies, or private producers. 

5. Cooperation with the Foreign Film Division in the ex- 
port of pictures to CPI agents abroad. 

The original idea was to make "documentaries" which would 
not compete with the regular trade and would be shown in 
public meetings of various kinds but not in movie theaters 
except for benefit performances. But as the need for longer 
and more elaborate films became evident, documentaries of 
feature length were turned out and the problem of distribution 
became highly involved. 

Through the division's educational department, under 
Clare de Lissa Berg, the CPI furnished movies to army and 
navy meetings, patriotic rallies, and educational institutions 
either gratis or at the under-cost figure of $1 per reel per day. 
Although the educational department was kept busy, free dis- 
tribution came to occupy a less and less important place in the 
whole undertaking. 

In three states California, Michigan, and North Dakota- 
theaters received CPI films through the respective State Coun- 
cils of Defense, but everywhere else the pictures were handled 
by regular commercial distributors on the percentage basis 
normally followed by the trade. Pathe, First National, and 
World Film handled the most important of the reels. 

Charges to the theaters were fixed according to a sliding 
scale so that the same film might be obtained for a few dollars 


a week by a crossroads theater but $3,000 a week by a Man- 
hattan picture palace. 

One of the particular problems in distribution was the Offi- 
cial War Review, a propaganda newsreel prepared by the 
British, French, and Italian governments and released in this 
country by the CPI. The Allied countries wished to sell their 
service to the highest bidder, and this was done for a while, 
Hearst-Pathe making the top bid. But eventually Mr. Creel in- 
sisted on making the film available to all four of the chief news- 
reel companies Universal, Mutual, Gaumont, and Hearst- 
Pathe. Each of these services received 2,000 feet at a flat rate 
of $5,000, which the Allies thought an outrage, but which the 
CPI persuaded them to accept. The CPI also issued to the four 
companies a weekly allotment of 500 feet of diversified war 
film of other sorts. 

In the production end of the business, the Film Division 
went through several phases. First of all, the CPI laid its hands 
on whatever war films the Signal Corps might have available. 
Next, both the CPI cameramen and those of the Signal Corps 
made a number of "short subjects" of the type supposed not to 
compete with theaters. The list included: 

The 1917 Recruit Labor's Part in Democracy's 
The Second Liberty Loan War 

Ready for the Fight Annapolis 

Torpedo Boat Destroyers Ship Building 

Submarines Making of Big Guns 

Army and Navy Sports Mating of Small Arms 

The Spirit of 1917 Making of Uniforms 

In a Southern Camp Activities of the Engineers 

The Lumber Jack Woman's Part in the War 

Medical O.R.C. in Action Men Who Are Doing Things 

Fire and Gas The Conquest of the Air 

Then, as it was decided that the government must accom- 
plish an actual invasion of the movie houses if it was to make 
full use of the film's patriotic possibilities, the feature-picture 
program was inaugurated. 

[ 138] 

Peishings Crusaders, seven reels, was the first of these, and 
it was followed by America's Answer, five reels; Under Four 
Flags, five reels; and a quartet of two-reelers called the U.S.A. 
Series. A special appeal to the Negro population was made 
through Our Colored Fighters. 

While the later of these films were being made and Per- 
shings Crusaders was already on the screen, the Film Division 
acquired a new unit, the Scenario Department, which was 
established June i, 1918, under the direction of Rufus Steele. 
Up to this time the government had encountered some reluc- 
tance on the part of commercial producers to make the kind of 
documentary film that the departments desired. The movie 
people thought that propaganda films of this sort had no box- 
office value. As a result, the government found it necessary to 
pay for making the pictures, and then had to enter into further 
contracts to secure distribution for the films. 

The CPI believed that documentaries of the government at 
work "the American people in the war" could be made to 
have genuine audience appeal. Mr. Steele's assignment, there- 
fore, was to prepare scenarios which would interest the movie- 
goer and yet would put across the message in which the gov- 
ernment was interested. After discussion, producers agreed to 
assume the cost of making one-reel subjects, in return for 
which the CPI wrote the scenario and issued permits allowing 
cameramen to make the necessary pictures. The film remained 
the property of the producer and the government derived no 
income from it. Under this system, eighteen one-reelers were 

Paramount-Bray Pictograph the "Says Uncle Sam" Series: 
Keep 'Em Singing and Nothing Can Lick 'Em; I Run the Big- 
gest Life Insurance Company on Earth; A Girl's a Man for a' 
That; I'll Help Every Willing Worker Find a Job. 

Pathe Company Solving the Farm Problem of the Nation 
(U.S. Boys' Working Reserve) ; Feeding the Fighter. 

Universal Company Reclaiming the Soldiers' Duds; The 
American Indian Gets into the War Game. 


C. L. Chester Schooling Our Fighting Mechanics; There 
Shall Be No Cripples; Colored Americans; It's an Engineer's 
War; Finding and Fixing the Enemy; Waging War in Wash- 
ington; All the Comforts of Home; Masters for the Merchant 
Marine; The College for Camp Cooks; Railless Railroads. 

Private producers also made longer pictures in accordance 
with the Scenario Department's suggestions. Several of these 
were abandoned part way through production when the Armi- 
stice was signed, but two were finished The Miracle of Ships, 
a six-reel feature made by C. L. Chester; and the Hodkinson 
Company's Made in America, an eight-reel picture finished 
long after the Armistice, showing the growth of the citizen 
army from start to finish. 

The work of the Scenario Department was so satisfactory 
that by the end of the summer of 1918 the CPI decided to go 
into production on its own. Six two-reelers were made, though 
none of them was shown before the Armistice and two of them 
never at all. The titles of these last CPI films: 

If Your Soldier's Hit Mating the Nation Fit 

Our Wings of Victory The Storm of Steel 

Our Horses of War ' The Bath of Bullets 

Whether the pictures were made by the CPI, the Navy, the 
Signal Corps, or private companies, the Film Division was 
tireless in its promotion efforts. The domestic distribution de- 
partment had seventeen sales representatives in the principal 
cities to lend support to the commercial distributors, and both 
these field men and the New York and Washington offices 
gave continual help in the way of publicity. Besides advance 
material for newspapers, the division sent posters, subway 
cards, and window displays; and personal pressure was applied 
to civic leaders to help boost the films. For instance, George 
Bowles, manager of the feature film division, sent telegrams to 
thirty prominent men in St. Louis when Pershing's Crusaders 
opened there in May 1918, asking their "personal cooperation 
and influence" in the name of the United States Government. 

And when Pershing's Crusaders had had its premiere in Cin- 

cinnati on April 29, every theater critic in town received a per- 
sonal letter and the managing editors of the Enquirer, Tribune, 
Times-Star, and Post received telegrams. 

Advertising directed to the moviegoer was but part of the 
campaign, and the trade papers were filled with announce- 
ments designed to engage the interest and arouse the enthu- 
siasm of theater managers. For the CPI film America's Answer, 
for instance, the Moving Picture World of September 21, 
1918, carried a two-page spread regarding this thrilling picture 
"filmed at the gates of hell and brought back through subma- 
rine-infested seas/' 

This promotion work brought results. Peishings Crusaders 
and America's Answer each had more than 4,000 bookings, and 
the thirty-one weekly issues of the Official War Review had a 
total of nearly 7,000. In spite of a great deal of free distribution 
and in spite of (or perhaps because of) the reasonable rental 
charges and the "proportionate selling plan," the Film Divi- 
sion came close to paying its own way. Total expenses, includ- 
ing disbursement from earnings, came to $1,066,730.59, and 
more than three-quarters of this was covered by income from 
films. The gross income from sale or rental of films was given 
in the Complete Report: 

Peishings Crusaders $181,741.69 

America's Answer 185,144.30 

Under Four Flags 63,946.48 

Official War Review 334,622.35 

Our Bridge of Ships 992.41 

U.S.A. Series 13,864.98 

Our Colored Fighters 640.60 

News Weekly 15,1 50.00 

Miscellaneous Sales 56,641.58 


This does not include the great cooperative venture of the 
Film Division with the CPFs Foreign Section (Foreign Film 
Division) in sending American war pictures to other countries. 

Under the supervision of Lieutenant John Tuerk, assigned by 
the War Department, and Jules E. Brulatour, a pioneer figure 
in the movie industry, more than 6,200 reels went abroad. And 
this effective propaganda material went everywhere from the 
banana republics of Central America to the sprawling onetime 
empire of the Tsar. Details of the work, including some of its 
difficulties, are given in later chapters of this book, but it is 
important to note here the device through which the CPI was 
able to persuade foreign distributors to take American propa- 
ganda films. 

The Trading-with-the-Enemy Act, which we have already 
encountered in connection with press censorship, also pro- 
vided that no film could be exported except by license from the 
War Trade Board. In practice that meant that no film could 
leave the country without permission from the CPI, for every 
export license was submitted to the Committee for approval or 
rejection. And the decision of the CPI was that no one could 
export entertainment films unless he agreed to send along with 
it a certain amount of CPI material. The result, as George 
Creel put it, was that "Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford 
led Peishings Crusaders and America's Answer into the 
enemy's territory and smashed another Hindenburg line." 

Lieutenant Tuerk was in charge of the export board of re- 
view, and he was supported not only by the general provisions 
of the Trading-with-the-Enemy Act but also by the action of 
the War Trade Board in July 1918 when film was placed on the 
export conservation list. Thus, in addition to making a positive 
requirement that CPI film must accompany each export, the 
Committee was also able to encourage the kind of commercial 
pictures which would help the cause "wholesome views of 
American life," with emphasis on democracy, fairness to labor, 
equal opportunity, and so on. The main object was to dim the 
picture of Uncle Shylock which had been deeply etched by 
German propagandists and even by our own Allies. Limitation 
of film export caused many practical difficulties in the field, 
but at home it increased government control over the movie 


Everything was not smooth going in connection with film 
export, however. Sometimes films passed by our government 
would prove unacceptable to some other, and often a picture 
with a deceptively patriotic title would contain material be- 
lieved to have been inspired by the enemy. As Colonel Ernest 
J. Chambers, Canada's chief press censor, wrote to George 
Creel, on January 29, 1918: "Many motion picture plays are 
being submitted . . . which, while containing titles damning 
the Germans up and down, actually feature Germans in the 
pictures as beings of peculiar benevolence, valor, and ability. 
. . . There has been an unusual crop of motion picture plays 
entered here for censorship which represent England and Eng- 
lishmen in a most objectionable light. ... I wonder whether 
these pictures are not due to the suggestion of the wily German 
who would like to belittle an Allied nation in the eyes of the 
American people/' 

Colonel Chambers, however, was carrying coals to Newcas- 
tle when he addressed Mr. Creel on this subject, for the CPI 
had more than sufficient experience with suspected pictures. 
The most famous of all these was Patria, and its bizarre history 
is worth examination both for its suggestion of how the movies 
can be turned to strange uses and for the interest of the story 
itself, which has never been adequately reported. 

Patria was a fifteen-episode "serial romance of society and 
preparedness," starring Mrs. Vernon Castle, one of the top 
"money names" of the industry. The excellent cast also in- 
cluded Milton Sills, Warner Oland, and others who had a large 
following. The story carried the byline of a well known Hearst 
writer, Louis Joseph Vance, the director was Leopold Whar- 
ton, and the picture was produced by Hearst's International 
and released on January 14, 1917, by Pa the, which a short time 
earlier had become the outlet for Hearst pictures. 

For weeks the Hearst newspaper and periodical press had 
laid down a noisy barrage of advance publicity, including a 
comprehensive campaign of advertising and news stories, a 
novelized version of the photoplay for the newspapers, and 

announcements in every Hearst magazine from Good House- 
keeping to Motor and Motor Boating. 

When the picture was first released we were not yet at war 
with Germany, and ostensibly it was merely furthering Presi- 
dent Wilson's preparedness campaign. But as the contents of 
the story became known, and as its phenomenal popularity 
continued after declaration of war, more and more government 
officials became interested. The whole enterprise was swathed 
in red, white, and blue, but that did not prevent the authorities 
from making the quick discovery that the shooting in Patria 
was not directed at Germany but at a nation which, in at least 
a formal sense, was a "comrade in arms" Japan. 

Amid Patria's successive incidents of exploding munitions 
plants, derailed trains, kidnaping, death-defying leaps from 
cliffs, horses, and automobiles, stood the sinister figure of 
Baron Huroki (Warner Oland) , an agent of Japan's secret 
service. The name of the character is noteworthy in view of the 
fact that General Kuroki was a fire-breathing commander in 
the Russo-Japanese War. Not only did the film accuse a 
friendly power of the Black Tom Explosion and the incitement 
of labor violence, but in Episode 14 it showed the Japanese 
leading an invasion in force against America from the soil of 
Mexico, another supposedly friendly nation. 

Patria Channing (Mrs. Castle) , who had been bequeathed 
$100,000,000 to be used "for American preparedness," even- 
tually assumed command of the disorganized United States 
army, directing gunfire from an airplane, and, when the Japa- 
nese-Mexican forces had been routed, ended up safely in the 
arms of Captain Parr, U.S. Secret Service! 

All of this was good movie business, but gradually through 
1917 and 1918 evidence was pieced together indicating that 
Mr. Hearst's well known dislike for the Japanese and his sup- 
posed opposition to the war might not be the only thing behind 

German propaganda agents entered the picture. 

[ 144 ] 

In the December 1917 issue of Everybody's, Samuel Hop- 
kins Adams, a member of the CPI Syndicate Features Division, 
had an article, "Invaded America/' discussing various Ger- 
man attempts to stir up anti-Japanese feeling in this country. 
In one passage he said: 

"In the fall of 1914, Maximilian Foster, well known as a 
fiction writer and with some experience in the dramatic field, 
was approached by a go-between with an offer to write a play 
on the order of An Englishman's Home, Americanized. 

"The financial consideration was liberal, not to say generous: 
$5,000 on the completion of the scenario, and an equal amount 
upon the delivery of the finished manuscript. 
What's the idea?' inquired the author. 

' 'Anti-Japanese/ explained the go-between. 'It's to be the 
Japanese invasion of California: yellow peril and all that sort 
of thing.' 

"Suspicion began to dawn upon the writer's mind. 'Who's 
paying the money?' 

'That'll be all right,' he was assured. 'Any sort of guarantee 
you want.' 

' 'But I want to know where the money comes from/ 
: 'What difference does that make so long as' 

" 'See here! Does this offer originate in the German Foreign 

"The other denied it, but so haltingly that Mr. Foster's sus- 
picions were confirmed. With considerable emphasis and dis- 
gust he bade the agent tell his principals to go elsewhere with 
their offer and even specified a decidedly uncomfortable else- 

"Later the go-between turned up as the recipient of German 
propaganda money; he was a suborned pro-German 'accelera- 
tor of public opinion/ ' 

Colonel Chambers, the Canadian press censor, saw 
Adams's article and wrote to Creel: 

"I am strongly of the opinion that Patria was made to order 
of enemy agents and that a well known individual identified 


with a number of publications at present forbidden circulation 
in Canada [Hearst] was at the bottom of the whole scheme 01 
acted as the agent of the German propagandists. 

"If I could establish a connection between this individual 
[Hearst] and those who approached Mr. Foster, and also those 
responsible for the production of Patria in its original ob- 
jectionable form, it would enable me to take a strong stand in 
connection with a proposal which has been made for restora- 
tion of their Canadian circulation to a number of publications 
whose attitude is, as far as it dare be, anti-Ally/' 

Creel turned the letter over to Adams, who in reply expressed 
his confidence in Foster's loyalty and named Edward Lyell Fox 
as the German agent. Fox was a newspaperman, but it was 
known that he had been in touch with Ambassador von Bern- 
storff, he had written New YorJc American stories of Russian 
atrocities against Germany (so convincing that the German 
ambassador wired back to Berlin to learn more about them) , 
and he had written a letter to Captain Franz von Papen, Ger- 
man military attache and future chancellor of the Second 
Reich, advocating production of a film play to turn the Amer- 
ican people against Japan. 

All of this came out in the exciting hearings before the Sen- 
ate Judiciary Committee when it was attempting to trace lines 
of influence between German propaganda and the brewing and 
liquor interests in December 1918. Captain George G. Lester 
of the Military Intelligence Division of the General Staff told 
what he knew about the mysterious origins of Patria. Fox had 
denied that he meant to go through with the film plan, but 
Captain Lester said: "The fact is that Mr. Hearst, through the 
International Film Service Corporation, put out a film in 1916 
called Patria which exploited the very idea which was set forth 
generally in Fox's statement." The letter to Von Papen, the 
expelled military attache, was adduced. Vance, the supposed 
author of the photoplay, may have allowed use of his name in 
connection with Patria without actually writing the scenario. 

Possibly a complete unravelling of the Patria story will never 
be made, but Captain Lester's final judgment was: 

"Patria had a story with three barrels. Its principal excuse 
was 'preparedness/ But by the time the first episodes were re- 
leased the country was already committed to that. Therefore 
the only other two elements, anti-Mexican and anti-Japanese 
propaganda, remained active." 

President Wilson saw the film, according to Captain Lester's 
testimony, and in a personal interview with Hearst demanded 
that everything reflecting on the Japanese be deleted. The 
order was carried out. The characters continued to wear Japa- 
nese uniforms, but Mexican names were conferred upon them, 
and all of the sins previously charged to the agents of the 
Mikado were now dumped on Mexico! The film was held up 
in various places by federal and state authorities while these 
changes were being made, but then was allowed to run, to the 
delight of several million people. 

Another case, similar to that of Patria in that the film re- 
flected upon an Allied country, was that of The Spirit of '76. 
This was produced by Robert Goldstein, who had been asso- 
ciated with D. W. Griffith in making The Birth of a Nation 
and wished to give the same treatment to the Revolutionary 
War that Griffith had given to Reconstruction. Goldstein's 
picture was finished just before the war, following a year and 
a half of production. 

One of the scenes, the Wyoming Massacre, showed British 
soldiers killing women and children and carrying off young 
girls. Naturally, a dramatic presentation of war with a nation 
now our ally was unlikely to excite official enthusiasm in 1917. 
But the offense was greatly aggravated, in the opinion of fed- 
eral officers, because in the censors' preview the massacre scene 
was omitted, and then later restored to the film; and also be- 
cause Goldstein was charged with appealing to German-Amer- 
ican anglophobes in attempting to finance the production. In 
any event, the reels were seized under Title XI of the Espio- 

nage Act, the company went into bankruptcy, and Goldstein 
was sentenced to ten years in the federal penitentiary. 

Still another instance of American solicitude for the feelings 
of the Allies is found in the record of The Caillaux Case, pro- 
duced by Fox, and protested by the French representatives in 
this country. The denouement of this involved censorship story 
is succinctly presented in the letter, reproduced here, from 
Philip Patchin of the State Department to George Creel. 

These and other incidents in connection with entertainment 
films were not so frequent, however, as the various contretemps 
relating to documentary films of our own war work. In many 
of these cases rival distributors charged that the CPI Film Di- 
vision, heavily weighted with former Hearst employees, was 
giving the Hearst services an inside track. There was no deny- 
ing that Byoir, Sisson, Hart, and a number of other CPI men 
had once been on the Hearst payroll, but conclusive evidence 
of favoritism was never offered. 

It was charged by Universal, for instance, that while Hearst- 
Pathe was showing pictures of American tanks in action all 
other companies were denied the privilege of even photograph- 
ing them. It developed later, however, that permits were issued 
simultaneously to Hearst and to Universal to take pictures of 
tanks at a certain place; the Hearst cameramen hurried out to 
take their pictures, but Universal delayed until the War De- 
partment had changed its mind about the whole project and 
refused to honor the permit. When this was brought to the 
attention of the CPI, Hearst was ordered to recall the film. 

Again, Creel was charged with rigging a Hearst monopoly 
of war newsreels, but this proved to be the highest-bidder com- 
plication alluded to above: Hearst was the highest bidder, but 
eventually the CPI forced the Allies to give the War Review 
to all companies. 

These incidents of the tank pictures and the newsreels were 
made public in connection with a much more serious charge of 
Hearst influence, the CPI suppression of Universal^ film The 
Yanks Are Coming, made at the plant of the Dayton- Wright 
Airplane Company. The movie concern claimed that the pic- 


Wt AS H 3 ?3 TON 

la reply refer to 

6, ,ms. 


I rstar herewith yoor letter to MaoBrlde and the other 
correspondence ia connection with the Qaillaax Film. I 
agree with yoa that they have done a great deal ia cutting 
oat the objectionable feature of the film. low that they 
have it finished I find myself wondering what they are 
going to do with it* The only good staff was objectionable 
and I an afraid there is not mooh left. It was a 7,000 foot 
film, or thereabouts, and it seam* to me that folly 2,000 
feet mast have been title* with all the firework* llliiinated; 
It seem* to me that patron* of the Fox Film Company might 
be saved a lot of trouble if the Company would simply print 
the titles, give them to their customers and let it go at 
that. i 

Sincerely yoar a, 

George Creel , Sequire, 

Cosmlttee en Pablio Info 
10 Jackson Place, 



The Fate of "The Caillaux Case" 

Philip Patchin of the State Department Tersely States the Results of 

Censorship on a Movie Which Had Been Protested by 

French Representatives in This Country 

It makes Americans fighting mad 



Advertisement of the Most Famous "Hate" Picture 

ture had been made in cooperation with the War Department 
and that when shown in a Washington preview had "received 
the highest praise from officials of the War Department and 
the Signal Corps/' Mr. Creel's representative, however, disap- 
proved of the film, and the CPI refused to pass it. 

The chairman would not budge from his position, but the 
picture was nevertheless advertised to open in New York on 
June 23, 1918. Carl Byoir was in the ticket line at the Broadway 
Theater that night, and Department of Justice men were re- 
ported to be scattered through the house in case the theater 
should try to show the forbidden films. Instead, this sign was 
hung in the lobby: 

advertised to be 


Stopped by the 

And the next morning's New YorJc Times headlined its story 
in column i, page i: 




R. H. Cochrane, vice-president of the Universal Film Com- 
pany, issued a public statement giving his version of the whole 
case and once more charging Creel with submitting to Hearst. 
Some of the supposed "Hearstlings" proved not to be such, and 
Mr. Cochrane was obliged to admit that permits for the pho- 
tographing had not been obtained. He said, however, that Mr. 
Creel was "peeved" at being ignored, and also because one of 
Universal^ men had testified against the CPI before the House 
Ways and Means Committee on the subject of the newsreel 
monopoly. It was at just about this time that Dr. James A. B. 
Scherer, chief field agent of the Council of National Defense, 

resigned because, he said, Secretary Baker had tried to keep 
him from denouncing Hearst, thus adding still more color to 
Mr. Cochrane's theory of Hearst influence in Washington. 

But we know from Ray Stannard Baker's last volume of 
Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters that the President was very 
chary of boastful publicity about plane production because he 
knew how false most of the claims were and feared the reaction 
of public disillusionment. It is possible that Creel was follow- 
ing specific orders from the White House. In any event the 
CPI chairman told the papers: 

"The motion picture, The Yanlcs Are Coming, was refused 
the necessary official sanction because every detail of the film's 
making was in open disregard and even defiance of established 
procedure. No photographs may be made in any factory doing 
government war work without formal permits, issued after in- 
vestigation. The Universal did not have these permits, and 
made no effort to get them. Also, after making the pictures 
without permits, the Universal planned a commercial exploita- 
tion of the film for its own profit, a privilege denied every other 
motion picture producer in the United States at one time or 

"The only question in issue is whether private greed shall 
have power to nullify the government's efforts to protect its 
military secrets. The charge of Hearst influence is merely an 
attempt to muddy the water, and is as absurd as it is indecent. 
No one in connection with this organization had responsibility 
in the matter save myself. The decision was my own, and others 
merely carried out my explicit instructions." 

Secretary Baker stood by the CPI, and the last we hear of 
The Yanlcs Are Coming in the CPI files is in correspondence in 
which Creel, Baker, and Colonel Churchill of Military Intelli- 
gence decide to let the Dayton- Wright Company show the 
films to its own employees, and to bring a print to Washing- 
ton for the Bureau of Aircraft Production. Everyone agreed 
that the pictures should not be left "kicking around/' A print 
is now in The National Archives. 

Other films were held up or suppressed, too, but they were 
few in number when compared with the hundreds of privately 
produced war pictures which were passed without question by 
the CPI. 

The American cinema during the war years turned out some 
of the most amazing productions that an amazing industry 
has ever given to its tremendous audience, and it is probable 
that the strictly "entertainment" films were more important 
for carrying America's message to the people than the frankly 
propagandist documentaries issued under the CPI. 

Some of these war films are monuments in the development 
of movie art. Charlie Chaplin's Shoulder Arms is considered 
by many competent people to be one of the great moving pic- 
tures. It was not released until October 30, 1918, and cannot 
be said to have had an important part in the winning of the 
war. If it had appeared earlier, however, it would undoubtedly 
have been one of the most useful, though one of the most 
indirect, of the pictures helping the American people to accept 
the dislocations of war. Charlie is followed from his induction 
into the army as a rookie, through his inadvertent penetration 
of the German lines, to his eventual return with a pretty French 
girl as his companion and the Kaiser and the Crown Prince as 
his captives. 

Then there were Mutt and Jeff at the Front and many other 
comedies, and dozens of soul-gripping dramas such as The 
Prussian Cur, for which people in Springfield, Massachusetts, 
stood in a long line with the thermometer at 103; To Hell with 
the Kaiser, which in Lowell, Massachusetts, required a riot 
detail to quell a mob seeking admission; and Wolves of Kultur, 
a fifteen-episode thriller by Western Photoplays. 

The greatest of all these "hate" pictures, however, was the 
incomparable The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin, a "sensational 
creation" written by Elliott J. Clawson, directed by Rupert 
Julian, and made by Jewel Productions. An inadequate idea of 
this story may be obtained from the synopsis exactly as it 
appeared in the Moving Picture World for April 20, 1918: 

"Marcas, a mighty man, is a peace-loving blacksmith in 
Louvain, while in the palace in Berlin lives the Kaiser. A cap- 
tain of the guard, chided for the appearance of his men, in 
anger knocks the Kaiser down and then commits suicide. The 
Kaiser soon after starts the world war. Louvain is invaded; the 
blacksmith, though wounded, saves his daughter from a Ger- 
man soldier. Later, the Lusirania is sunk. The commander of 
the submarine is decorated and then goes mad. In an interview 
with Ambassador Gerard the Kaiser says he will stand no non- 
sense from America after the war. Then follow further inci- 
dents and happenings leading up to the declaration of war by 
the United States, and Gerard secures his passports. Scenes of 
America's military and naval preparations are shown; then the 
scene shifts to the close of the war. The principal allied generals 
are gathered in the palace in Berlin, the Kaiser is a captive and 
is turned over to the King of Belgium, who appoints the black- 
smith as his jailer/' 

An Omaha dispatch to Exhibitor's Trade Review said: 
"Fourteen thousand people the largest number that ever saw 
a motion picture in Omaha in one week saw The Kaiser [The 
Beast of Berlin] at the Auditorium in that city last week. Eight 
hundred children attended a 'kid matinee' on Saturday after- 
noon and the sixteen-piece orchestra that furnished the music 
could not be heard above the din they made. . . . Wild cheer- 
ing marked every show when the young captain soaked the 
Kaiser on the jaw. Patriotic societies boosted the picture be- 
cause of its aid in stirring up the country to war. Street car 
signs were used; huge street banners swung over the crowds in 
the downtown district, and a truck paraded the streets with the 
Kaiser hanging in effigy and a big sign 'All pro-Germans will be 
admitted free/ None availed himself of the invitation." 

The film ultimately received the final apotheosis of any 
photoplay a two-reel travesty, The Geezer of Berlin. 

Ambassador Gerard's book My Four Years in Germany, on 
which all patriotic writers were drawing to prove the Kaiser's 
evil intentions toward the United States, was turned into a 

[ is*] 

movie by First National, and an attempt was made to do the 
same thing with Ambassador Morgenthau's Story regarding 
Turkey. However, as Ray Stannard Baker has shown, Presi- 
dent Wilson disapproved of these translations to the screen, 
not only asking the author, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., to with- 
hold permission, but refusing the request of Harper and 
Brothers to allow a film version of his own History of the Amer- 
ican People. 


President Wilson's executive order of September 25, 1917, 
had created a Division of Pictures, a Division of Films, and a 
Division of Publications. In practice, Films and Pictures over- 
lapped, and in March 1918 the two were combined, a Bureau 
of War Photographs in the Division of Films succeeding to the 
duties of the abandoned unit. 

The Bureau of War Photographs handled official still pic- 
tures in the same way that the Division of Films handled 
movies. In addition, it had charge of censorship for both types 
of picture, the number of items to be considered running to 
700 a day. George Creel said of this censorship: "There is no 
law for it [actually the Espionage Act could have been made to 
cover it], but we have secured a voluntary agreement with the 
industry that all still photographs, no matter by whom made, 
and all motion pictures that deal in any manner with the war 
and with American aims, shall be submitted to this committee 
for censorship. In its work it keeps in the closest touch with the 
Army, the Navy, and the State Department." 

Pictures taken by the Signal Corps and other Army and 
Navy photographers were received by the Bureau of War Pho- 
tographs and, if considered safe for general distribution, were 
released to the press. Prints were sold at 10 cents each, which 
was far below the normal cost. The Photographic Association 
was an important channel of distribution, its members, such 
as Underwood and Underwood, Harris and Ewing, Brown 
Brothers, and Western Newspaper Union, taking the pictures 

in great numbers. Schools and libraries ranked next in 

An important function of the Bureau of War Photographs 
was to handle permits for photographing military, naval, and 
other governmental establishments and equipment. Every 
applicant was investigated and if he were not considered dis- 
creet and patriotic the privilege would be denied. Lawrence E. 
Rubel was in charge of permits and kept in close touch with 
Military and Naval Intelligence, which had the veto power 
over his decisions. 

In the whole undertaking the effort was to gain the greatest 
patriotic use of the camera and the drama and human interest 
it could convey, without endangering military secrets. As an 
indication of how the rules worked in practice, here is one of 
many cases covered in the CPI files: G. L. R. Masters, assis- 
tant to the president of the Standard Aircraft Corporation of 
Elizabeth, New Jersey, wrote to Creel on July 2, 1918: 

"At this writing, I am endeavoring to get you on the tele- 
phone but in case I am not successful would ask that you give 
the following matter your consideration. 

"We are, as you know, to have the official flight of the first 
Handley Page aeroplane on Saturday, July 6, and as a souvenir 
to the invited guests, we wish to distribute cards approximately 
the size of a postal on which will be a photograph of this 
machine. On the reverse side, we desire to give a slight descrip- 
tion of the plane in question. For your information we desire 
to put on the following: 

"Weight, approximately 14,000 Ibs. fully equipped 

"Speed, approximately 100 miles per hour 

"Wings, spread, 100 ft. 

"Fuselage length, 62 ft. 10 in. 

"Crew of five men 

"Bombs carried, approximately 1,800 Ibs. 

"Gasoline carried, approximately 400 gallons 

"Gasoline consumed, approximately 60 gallons per hr. 

"Climbs in the vicinity of 65,000 ft. 2 1 5 ft. per min. 

"Climbs in the vicinity of 10,000 ft. 1 1 3 ft. per min. . . . 

"It may not be within our rights to publish all of the above 
but would appreciate your advising me by wire immedi- 
ately " 

The reply was forthcoming at once: 



Cooperation with the CPI Foreign Section loomed so large 
in operations of the Bureau of War Photographs that when 
total disbursements were added up at the end of the war the 
cost for work on the home front was about $100,000 but the 
cost for work abroad nearly $300,000. Receipts from the sale 
of photographs, presumably entirely from this country, came to 


Another subsidiary of the Division of Films was the Depart- 
ment of Slides which provided schools, churches, and societies 
with war views for the projector at 1 5 cents each, which was 
less than half the normal cost. The Signal Corps produced the 
slides at first, but later the CPI set up its own slide laboratory 
at 1820 Eighteenth Street, N.W. 

To begin with, unrelated pictures were turned out, but later 
whole sequences, following a careful "scenario/' were prepared. 
The first of these, The Ruined Churches of France, was a fifty- 
slide set planned by Professor John Tatlock of Stanford Uni- 
versity. It was followed by others such as Building a Bridge of 
Ships to Pershing, To Berlin via the Air Route, and Making 
the American Army. Seven hundred sets of these were used. 
George F. Zook, professor of modern European history at 
Pennsylvania State College and later U.S. Commissioner of 
Education, turned out nine new series which were issued in 
editions of one hundred sets each, each set including from 

fifty to sixty separate slides. Among his titles: The Call to 
Arms, Airplanes and How They Are Made, and The Navy at 

Slides, like the movies and regular photographs, found their 
way into other countries through the CPI Foreign Section, 
but the bulk of the slides were used at home. And 200,000 of 
them were made in twelve months. 

The Department of Slides and the Bureau of War Photo- 
graphs helped much in the winning of the war, but the big 
push was for movies. The movie industry was relatively free 
during the nineteen months of the war, but in the very last 
weeks the hand of government was coming closer. It is reason- 
able to suppose that regimentation would have become pro- 
gressively strict if the war had continued into 1919. It is note- 
worthy that the reason for this closing in of Washington was 
not any apparent new desire to control the movies as an agency 
of communication but the matter-of-fact and obvious wartime 
necessity of bringing all industry under control for efficient use 
of manpower and materials. 

A widespread movement to close the theaters as an economy 
measure was reported in the spring of 1918, and although it 
made no serious headway, it sounded an ominous note. Wil- 
liam Brady wrote in alarm, and Secretary McAdoo, mindful of 
the help given to Liberty Loan drives, was also disturbed. He 
told Creel he would "look upon it as a misfortune if moving 
pictures or other clean forms of amusement should be abol- 
ished." Fuel Administrator Garfield and Food Administrator 
Hoover concurred, and Creel himself wrote to Charles Hart: 
"I believe in the motion picture just as I believe in the press, 
and in my work it plays just as powerful a part in the production 
of an aroused and enlightened war sentiment/' 

Late in August 1918 the War Industries Board recognized 
the movies as an "essential industry/' at least to the extent that 
it helped the government and the relief agencies, "and also 
to the extent of its activities in supplying an educational 

medium in furnishing to the great masses of the people a 
wholesome and comparatively cheap means of recreation." 

However, certain safeguards were set up by the War Indus- 
tries Board: no new theaters were to be built, no new tin con- 
tainers for film were to be made, only single negatives (or two 
if for export) were to be permitted, obsolete film was to be 
reclaimed, and projectors and other items of equipment were 
to be repaired rather than replaced. 

Far outweighing these in importance, however, was the stip- 
ulation that, in the interest of conservation and efficient use of 
raw materials, producers should take care that only "whole- 
some pictures" were made. 

These concessions by the industry, in return for recognition 
as "essential," were made in conference between Mr. Brady's 
National Association of the Motion Picture Industry and the 
Priorities Committee of the War Industries Board. At the 
same time Mr. Brady set up a fuel conservation committee to 
try to reduce the theaters' own consumption of coal and to 
spread enthusiasm for conservation among movie patrons. 

Still more important changes for the industry were in con- 
templation when the Armistice was signed. George Creel wrote 
Herbert Bayard Swope of the War Industries Board on Octo- 
ber 25, 1918, regarding an elaborate plan worked out by 
Charles Hart to save both manpower and materials and to 
reduce the expenses of the producing industry without cutting 
down on government receipts from theater taxes. This plan 
involved sharp curtailment of production schedules, advertis- 
ing, and other phases of the work, and reissue of old prints. 
Hart and Creel believed that it would release 10,000 people 
for war work, besides saving $500,000 per week in expenses. 

If the war had not ended when it did, the movie industry 
would no doubt have found itself under the strictest control 
from Washington, and the demand for "wholesome pictures" 
presented more strongly than ever before, but still on the rea- 
sonable and self-apparent grounds of economy and conser- 

Chapter 7 


GUY STANTON FORD, the present president of the 
University of Minnesota and the 1937 president of 
the American Historical Association, was forty-four 
years old in 1917, and held the position of professor of Euro- 
pean history and dean of the graduate school at the Univer- 
sity of Minnesota. He had been educated at Wisconsin, 
Columbia, and Berlin, receiving the Columbia doctorate in 
1903, and he had taught at Yale and Illinois as well as Minne- 
sota. His doctor's thesis had been called Hanover and Prussia, 
and he was well versed in all periods of German history. 

Except for historical reasons, however, he was not inter- 
ested in Germany as he sat at his scholar's desk in Minneap- 
olis in the spring of 1917. He wanted to build American soli- 
darity. In an attempt to further that end he took a step which 
must have seemed inconsequential at the time, but which had 
a profound effect on American scholarship and the thinking 
of the American people. 

As Dean Ford has explained to the authors, this was the 
sequence of events leading up to his appointment as director 
of the CPI Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation: 

"Early in the spring of 1917 I wrote an open letter to school 
principals about the possibility of using the coming high school 
commencements for patriotic purposes. I wrote it for the sig- 
nature of the Commissioner of Education, but he modestly 
declined to sign it and sent it out, however, over my name. A 
copy of that fell into George Creel's hands. I think it must 
have reached him through some member of the National 
Board for Historical Service, already partly formed in Wash- 

ington, possibly through Professor Shotwell. Something about 
it made him think that I would be valuable as a writer. Pre- 
sumably his earlier idea was that the Committee on Public 
Information would largely serve as writers, supplementing the 
utterances of the President and other leaders, and in doing 
what its name implied." 

So George Creel "made one long stride by a telegram" and 
called this distinguished scholar to Washington. Presumably, 
if Dean Ford had not been available some other man would 
have been found, but the work of Dean Ford's division bears 
the unmistakable mark of his personal influence, and it is 
doubtful whether anyone else would have done just what he 
did. As the chairman of the CPI made his whole great organ- 
ization into something surpassing the highest hopes of the 
President and his Cabinet, so Dean Ford accepted his assign- 
ment and then proceeded to do one of the most stupendous 
jobs in "popular scholarship" that this country has ever seen. 

One purely statistical measure of his work is that the divi- 
sion which he headed put out more than 75,000,000 pieces of 
literature, ranging in character from the simplest four-page 
leaflet to an elaborate war cyclopedia and numerous heavily 
annotated works of research. This vast program of publica- 
tion in several languages, directed to people at various levels 
of literacy and intelligence, was the basis of everything else 
that Dean Ford's office did, but it was far from being the 
sum of it. 

Through cooperating private and government agencies he 
brought about a veritable mobilization of the country's schol- 
arly resources, and made schools, colleges, and various non- 
educational groups among the strongest of "strong-points" in 
the inner lines. 

All this was accomplished without an elaborate administra- 
tive machine, for the division never had a large Washington 
staff. Samuel B. Harding, professor of history at the University 
of Indiana, was chief assistant, and James W. Searson, pro- 
fessor of English and journalism at Kansas State University, 
did editorial work; a few stenographers about completed the 


permanent personnel in the office which was successively 8, 
10, and 6 Jackson Place, and then 1621 H Street, N.W. 

Dozens of scholars from all over the country gave indispen- 
sable help, but they were not on the payroll and either worked 
entirely on their own campuses or came to Washington for 
brief consultation periods. Few of them received more than 
the $25 or $50 which was supposed to cover travelling ex- 
penses. Dean Ford's salary was $5,200, Professor Harding' s 
$2,600, and the total cost of the division was $568,306.08, 
most of which represented the expenses of the staggering pub- 
lication schedule, for though most distribution was by request, 
very little of it was paid. 

Because of Dean Ford's familiarity with the qualifications 
of his own colleagues, it was natural for him to draw heavily 
on the services of Minnesota scholars. But Illinois had the larg- 
est representation by the end of the war, and Chicago, Colum- 
bia, Princeton, Wisconsin, and three dozen other institutions 
likewise contributed liberally. 

The first big job, and the one for which Mr. Creel wished 
to receive scholarly assistance in the first place, was the 
pamphlet The War Message and the Facts Behind It, which 
was the annotated text of President Wilson's speech of April 
2, some forty elaborate footnotes explaining America's case 
against Germany and the outlines of America's foreign policy. 
"The plan and much of the work are due to Professor William 
Stearns Davis, of the history department of the University 
of Minnesota. He is very materially assisted by his colleagues, 
Professor C. D. Allin and Dr. Wm. Anderson." This pamphlet 
appeared June 10, 1917. The Government Printing Office 
alone turned out 2,499,903 copies, and reprints appeared in 
newspapers and magazines. Probably no man in American 
history had ever before put to press a scholarly work destined 
for a larger printing. As Dean Ford reported, on the first day 
after release of the pamphlet he received "a peach basket" of 
mail, the next day two bushels, "and then the flood just opened 

on us." 

160 ] 

This launched the unparalleled printing program of the 
division, and it also inaugurated the plan of calling on tem- 
porary, volunteer help, rather than erecting a large and un- 
wieldy structure in Washington. The policy was followed not 
only in connection with the editorial work, but also in the 
extensive program of "civic cooperation." As Dean Ford wrote 
to a friend, Howard M. Strong of the Minneapolis Civic and 
Commerce Association on May 25, 1917: 

"We must depend upon the activities of local groups who 
know the needs of their section and can more promptly and 
adequately meet them than can a temporary organization in 
Washington unless we build up a very elaborate machinery. 

"There is no idea of propaganda other than bringing home 
to the great mass of people some attitude other than that 
of mere passiveness and acceptance of the war because it has 
been decreed at Washington." 

On another occasion he wrote to A. C. Klumph, president 
of the International Association of Rotary Clubs: "I distinctly 
hope that you can consider the possibility of organizing in 
each center where you have a club some active local organ- 
ization of perfectly non-partisan public character that is inter- 
ested in the work of publicity concerning all these questions 
that are back of our participation in the war and that relate 
to correct information concerning the issues, conduct, and 
necessary outcome of the struggle. An informed, intelligent 
public opinion about these matters is vital to a democracy 
engaged in war." 

As the division's pamphlets reached a steadily widening 
public and more and more people learned, or suspected, the 
heady circulation figures, Dean Ford's incoming correspon- 
dence increased alarmingly. Half the men of learning in the 
country, it must have seemed to the division stenographers, 
felt that they had been specially called by providence to write 
one of Dean Ford's pamphlets, or else that they had some 
strategic idea for their improvement. Many folders in the CPI 
files are fat with essays on every subject from Plato's Republic 

to the insidious influence of Bach and Beethoven. These con- 
tributors mailed their productions to the CPI confidently 
expecting that the Committee would publish and distribute 
them "by the million." 

Very little of the volunteered material was usable in any 
way, and most of the pamphlets actually printed were first 
planned in Washington. A wire was sent to the American 
scholar considered best qualified to do the particular job, and 
there was never a refusal. 

More than a hundred separate publications were issued by 
Dean Ford's division, but the most important and the most 
influential were those in the two groups called the "War In- 
formation Series" and the "Red, White, and Blue Series." 
The two were published concurrently and, at least today, do 
not seem sharply differentiated from each other except by the 
tricolor band. Each group contained a wide variety of mate- 
rial. Understanding of the work done by the Division of 
Civic and Educational Cooperation is gained most readily 
through acquaintance with these famous pamphlets. 

The War Information Series ultimately included twenty- 
one different items, the first of which, The War Message and 
the Facts Behind It, has already been referred to. The second 
pamphlet was The Nation in Arms by Secretary of the In- 
terior Franklin K. Lane and Secretary of War Newton D. 
Baker, the former assailing German feudalism for "making its 
last stand against oncoming democracy," and Mr. Baker ex- 
plaining our own problems of finance and supply. The pam- 
phlet had a circulation of more than a million and a half. 

Charles D. Hazen, professor of European history at Colum- 
bia, was author of No. 3 in the series, which was The Govern- 
ment of Germany. This scholarly study of the "reactionary 
medievalism" of Germany's imperial government and of the 
influence of the army in German civil life was printed in an 
English edition of 1,798,1 55 and 20,500 in the enemy tongue. 

Andrew C. McLaughlin of the University of Chicago (one 
of several future presidents of the American Historical Asso- 
ciation who helped with the CPI work) , wrote No. 4, The 











The German 


The Secretary ef State 
The Secretary of War 
The Secretary of the Navy 
George Cretl 

Four CPI Pamphlets 
Some of the Most Famous Publications of the Creel Committee 

Great War, from Spectator to Participant, which appeared in 
August 1917 as a reprint from the June issue of the History 
Teacher's Magazine. He discussed German theories of Welt- 
politik and Machtpolitik and told how the United States came 
to enter the struggle. In this case, again, circulation was a 
million and a half. 

Cabinet members were called on once more for No. 5 in the 
series, which was A War of Self-Defense by Secretary of State 
Robert Lansing and Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of La- 
bor. Mr. Post presented the argument employed in one way 
or another by nearly all of the CPI writers: "Our problem 
was one of resisting conquest now, in a war in Europe and 
with allies, or later on in our own country and without allies." 
More than 700,000 copies were distributed. 

American Loyalty by Citizens of German Descent was No. 
6 in the series, and its translation (AmeriJcanische Biirgertreue 
von Biirgern deutscher Ablcunft) was No. 7. More than 700,- 
ooo copies were issued in English and 564,787 in German, 
making it the largest of all the foreign language publications. 
The contents included: "German-American Loyalty/' by C. 
Kotzenabe; "Americans of German Origin and the War," by 
Otto Kahn; "National Service Knows No Hyphen," by Judge 
F. W. Lehmann, onetime president of American Bar Asso- 
ciation; "The Spirit of '48 in 1917," by Franz Sigel; "Plain 
Words by a Plain Citizen," by Hans Russau; "One Answer 
Only," by Judge Leo Rassieur; "The Call and the Reply," by 
A. J. Bucher, editor of Haus und Herd, Cincinnati. 

Professor Evarts B. Greene of the history department of 
the University of Illinois wrote No. 8, which appeared in Sep- 
tember under the title American Interest in Popular Govern- 
ment Abroad. It traced American interest in the welfare of 
the French republic and the South American republics during 
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with many quotations 
from eminent Americans. Nearly 600,000 copies were issued. 
The War Department prepared No. 9, Home Reading 
Course for Citizen-Soldiers, a booklet of 62 pages of which 
361,000 copies were published. This was designed to help 

newly enlisted men adapt themselves intelligently to army life 
and discipline. 

A useful handbook was No. 10, entitled First Session of the 
War Congress, which contained in synoptic form a history 
of each of the ninety-one public acts passed by the first session 
of the 65th Congress, lasting from April to October 1917. 
More than 600,000 copies were published. It was compiled 
by Charles Merz, at that time Washington correspondent of 
the New Republic and now editor of the New Yorlc Times. 

The German War Code was designed to show the ruthless 
manner in which Germany waged war. It came from the pens 
of George Winfield Scott, sometime professor of international 
law and diplomacy at Columbia, and James Wilford Garner, 
professor of political science at the University of Illinois. About 
a half-million copies were issued. Germany's war code was 
contrasted with those of the United States, Great Britain, and 
France. The major part of the pamphlet was an analysis of 
the manual entitled Kriegsbrauch im LandJcriege (Customs of 
War in Wars Fought on Land) published by the Germans in 
1902, with shorter summaries of the war manuals of the other 
Allied powers. 

A professor of English was the author of the twelfth pam- 
phlet in the War Information Series American and Allied 
Ideals: An Appeal to Those Who Are Neither Hot Nor Cold, 
by Stuart P. Sherman of the University of Illinois. He quoted 
Cicero and Milton to prove the purity of Allied ideals. More 
than 225,000 copies were published. 

Charles Altschul wrote No. 1 3 in the series, German Mili- 
tarism and Its German Critics. This 48-page pamphlet ap- 
peared in March and enjoyed a circulation of 303,600 in Eng- 
lish and a German edition of 103,300. Excerpts from German 
Socialist newspapers giving numerous cases of mistreatment of 
German soldiers by their officers, and examples of the inhu- 
mane treatment of civilians by Germans, were cited. 

Arthur D. Call, secretary of the American Peace Society 
and editor of The Advocate of Peace, prepared the fourteenth 
number of this series The War for Peace: The Present War 

as Viewed by Friends of Peace. The contents included quota- 
tions from publications of the American Peace Society, the 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the League to 
Enforce Peace, the American School Peace League, the World 
Peace Foundation, and statements from women peace workers, 
churchmen, Belgian relief workers, Clarence Darrow, William 
Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Marburg, 
and Samuel Gompers. Circulation was 302,370. 

In the same month (March) appeared No. 1 5, Why Amer- 
ica Fights Germany, by Professor John S. P. Tatlock of Stan- 
ford University. "The net of German intrigue has encom- 
passed the world," wrote the author, who was professor of 
English. He repeated the assertion: "We must fight Germany 
in Europe with help, that we may not have to fight her in 
America without help/' One passage of this pamphlet made a 
profound impression in 1918 and was widely quoted: 

"Now let us picture what a sudden invasion of the United 
States by these Germans would mean; sudden, because their 
settled way is always to attack suddenly. First they set them- 
selves to capture New York City. While their fleet blockades 
the harbor and shells the city and the forts from far at sea, 
their troops land somewhere near and advance toward the city 
in order to cut its rail communications, starve it into surrender 
and then plunder it. One body of from 50,000 to 100,000 men 
lands, let us suppose, at Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, and ad- 
vances without meeting resistance, for the brave but small 
American army is scattered elsewhere. They pass through 
Lakewood, a station on the Central Railroad of New Jersey. 
They first demand wine for the officers and beer for the men. 
Angered to find that an American town does not contain large 
quantities of either, they pillage and burn the postoffice and 
most of the hotels and stores. Then they demand $1,000,000 
from the residents. One feeble old woman tries to conceal $20 
which she has been hoarding in her desk drawer; she is taken 
out and hanged (to save a cartridge) . Some of the teachers in 
two district schools meet a fate which makes them envy her. 
The Catholic priest and Methodist minister are thrown into 

a pig-sty, while the German soldiers look on and laugh. Some 
of the officers quarter themselves in a handsome house on 
the edge of the town, insult the ladies of the family, and de- 
stroy and defile the contents of the house. By this time some 
of the soldiers have managed to get drunk; one of them dis- 
charges his gun accidentally, the cry goes up that the residents 
are firing on the troops, and then hell breaks loose. Robbery, 
murder and outrage run riot. Fifty leading citizens are lined 
up against the First National Bank building, and shot. Most 
of the town and the beautiful pinewoods are burned, and then 
the troops move on to treat New Brunswick in the same way 
if they get there. 

"This is not just a snappy story. It is not fancy. The general 
plan of campaign against America has been announced re- 
peatedly by German military men. And every horrible detail 
is just what the German troops have done in Belgium and 

Professor Tatlock concluded this frightening account with 
a call for all Americans to enlist in the fight. "We shall feel 
brotherly toward the German nation again if two things can 
be changed, their government and their spirit." Circulation 
was nearly three-quarters of a million copies. 

One of the most important publications, because of its 
widespread use in schools and colleges, was The Study of the 
Great War: A Topical Outline, with Extensive Quotations 
and Reading References, by Samuel B. Harding, professor of 
European history at Indiana University. This g6-page booklet 
was divided into ten chapters, such as "Fundamental Causes 
of the War," "Historical Background of the War," "Indica- 
tions that Germany and Austria Planned an Aggressive 
Stroke," and so on. Each chapter was a sort of syllabus for 
further study. The final chapter was "Proposals for Peace: 
Will This Be the Last War?" The edition ran to 678,929 

A twenty-page discussion of the Activities of the Committee 
on Public Information, describing the work section by section, 

constituted No. 17 in this series. Only 23,800 copies were 

The Adjutant General's Office prepared in chronological 
outline form a Regimental History of the United States Regu- 
lar Army from 1866 to 1918. 

Lieber and Schurz: Two Loyal Americans of German Birth 
was No. 19, and was printed in October 1918. Evarts B. 
Greene was the author, and 26,360 copies of this were issued. 
"Francis Lieber and Carl Schurz were perhaps the most nota- 
ble of all those who in the middle of the nineteenth century 
gave up their status as German subjects to become citizens of 
the American Republic/' began the pamphlet, which is docu- 
mented with forty-five footnotes. 

One of the most interesting of this series is No. 20, issued 
in October, and entitled The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy. 
This thirty-page 9x12 document has been the center of a 
spirited controversy which is alluded to in Chapter XIV. The 
pamphlet consisted of the so-called Sisson Documents, the 
exciting history of which is described in the later chapter. 

The last of the War Information Series, No. 21, appeared in 
November 1918. It was America's War Aims and Peace Pro- 
gram, compiled t>y Professor Carl L. Becker of the history 
department of Cornell University. A big edition of 719,315 
copies was printed, large numbers finding their way into 
schools and colleges. The pamphlet was divided into five parts, 
dealing with the German peace move of 1916, the Papal peace 
overtures of 1917; the Brest-Litovsk peace discussion; Wilson's 
statement on terms, and the negotiations of October and No- 
vember 1918. In a prefatory note, Dr. Ford declared that the 
impending peace "will be a peace that conforms to the better 
thought of all those who have paid by sacrifice and suffering 
the price of the world's redemption from the imminent threat 
of military medievalism." 

At the same time that the War Information Series ap- 
peared, the Red, White, and Blue Series was likewise making 
its bow. Many of the items in this latter group were much 
more elaborate than in the other, and some of them furnished 

r 168 1 


IN the vicious guttural language of Kultur, the degree A. B. 
means Bachelor of Atrocities. Are you going to let the Prussian 
Python strike at your Alma Mater, as it struck at the University 
of Louvain? 

The Ilohcnzollein fanj strikes at every 
element cf decency and culture and taste 
that your college stands for. It loaves a 
track so terrible that only whispered 
fragments m:iy he recounted. It has 
ripped all the world-old romance out of 
war, and reduced it to the dead, black 
depths of muck, and hate, and bitterness. 

You may soon be called to fight. But 
you arc called upon rijjht now to buy 
Liberty Bonds. You arc called upon to 
economize in every way. It is sometimes 

hnrder to live nobly man to die nobly. 
The supreme sacrifice of life may come 
easier than the petty sacrifices cf com- 
forts and luxuries. You arc called to 
exercise stern self-discipline. Upon thi* 
the Allied Success depends. 

Set aside every possible dollar for the 
purchase of Liberty Bonds. Do it 
relentlessly. Kill every wasteful impulse, 
that America may live. Kverv bond 
you buy fires point-blank at Prussian 


Contributed through 
of AdvertlKln 

United State* Cov't Comm. 
on Public Information 

This spacc-cbntHbulcdfor tic Winning of the War by 
A. T SKERRY. '84. and CYRI LLE CARREAU. '04. 

Appeal to the Symbols of Education 

Two Graduates of New York University Contributed the Space for This 
CPI Advertisement in Their "Alumni News" 


the spiciest reading of any publications of the CPI. Inci- 
dentally, the bands of color appearing on the cover of each 
pamphlet caused some difficulty, purists objecting that blue, 
not red, should be at the top. When Marion H. Brazier, mem- 
ber of the D.A.R., and according to her own description "a 
sort of critic on matters concerning the flag and colors," in- 
dignantly protested to Mr. Creel about this offense against 
"good taste, regulations, and custom/' she received the fol- 
lowing reply from Dean Ford: 

"I fear that as a class we are a group whose education in 
the proper use of colors has been sadly neglected, limited as 
it has been chiefly to neckties and hatbands. 

"We were so innocent of any idea about the arrangement 
of colors on the booklet that we left it entirely to the Govern- 
ment Printing Office and now they have committed us to 
something which so far as I can see, we cannot easily change. 
Nevertheless, the Committee is young even if the Government 
Printing Office is not, and has some possibilities of teach- 

Most people, however, did not quibble about the order of 
colors, and the ten numbers of the Red, White, and Blue 
Series held the absorbed attention of a tremendous public. 
The first pamphlet in this group was How the War Came to 
America, and its various editions in eight languages had the 
breathtaking circulation of 6,227,912 copies. The forty-six 
pages gave the historical background of our foreign policy 
and our belief in the peaceful settlement of international dis- 
putes; a chronology of German-American relations, with em- 
phasis on details of submarine warfare; and the text of three 
Wilson addresses, including the famous Flag Day Address. 
The first edition of this pamphlet, a small printing of 20,000 
copies, appeared June 9 and went to the newspapers, nearly 
all of which reprinted it at least in part, the New YorJc Times, 
for instance, giving it a full page and a half. Then on June 26 
came the regular edition for general circulation, and still later 
the foreign-language printings of from 9,000 to 300,000 each, 

including translations into German, Italian, Bohemian, Span- 
ish, Polish, Swedish, and Portuguese in that order of size. 

The next item in the tricolor series was a 246-page National 
Service Handbook, edited by John J. Coss, assisted by James 
Gutmann and many others. This book, which was "suggested 
by the Directory of Service published in April in the Columbia 
University War Papers," discussed topically every branch of 
the national service combat, industry, civil service, and so on. 
The book sold for 1 5 cents, and 454,699 copies were issued. 

The Battle Line of Democracy was a 13 3-page collection of 
rousing patriotic prose and poetry relative to the World War. 
It proved very popular in the schools. Nearly 100,000 copies 
were issued, and it sold at 1 5 cents. 

No. 4 of the tricolor series issued September 15, 1917, was 
the President's Flag Day Address, With Evidence of Ger- 
many's Plans, a thirty-page annotated discussion of Germany's 
designs for world conquest. Twenty-four footnotes implement 
the address and many pages have all except two lines devoted 
to this documentation, which was prepared by Professors Wal- 
lace Notestein, Elmer Stoll, August C. Krey, and William An- 
derson of the University of Minnesota and Professor Guernsey 
Jones of the University of Nebraska. Distribution was 6,813,- 
340 copies. 

Conquest and Kultur: Aims of the Germans in Their Own 
Words was compiled by Wallace Notestein and Elmer Stoll 
of the University of Minnesota. This was published on No- 
vember 15, 1917. "The present war is in the last analysis dis- 
tinctly a war between ideals and thus between the peoples 
who uphold them" the foreword starts out. This book of 160 
pages was divided into seventeen sections, such as "The Mis- 
sion of Germany," "World Power or Downfall," "The Wor- 
ship of Power," and so on. Under each division were numerous 
excerpts from public utterances or writings of prominent Ger- 
mans showing their avowed goals. General Bernhardi's book 
Germany and the Next War, for example, was freely quoted, as 
were Treitschke, Nietzsche, and chauvinistic politicians. Here 
at last was a whole arsenal of quotations for the publicist to 

use against the pro-German. Circulation was 1,203,607 copies. 

German War Practices, also issued November 15, 1917, 
was a 96-page book edited by Dana Carleton Munro of 
Princeton, George C. Sellery of Wisconsin, and August C. 
Krey of Minnesota. Quotations showed the glorification of 
war and the treatment of Belgians by Germany, and shorter 
accounts were devoted to practices in conquered provinces of 
France and Poland. Atrocity stories were repeated. A total of 
1,592,801 copies appeared. 

The War Cyclopedia, "a handbook for ready reference on 
the Great War," was 321 pages long, the largest publication 
of Dean Ford's division. The first edition came out January 
1918, and altogether 195,231 copies were printed. The editors 
were Frederic L. Paxson of Wisconsin, Edward S. Corwin of 
Princeton, and Samuel B. Harding of Indiana. About fifty 
others contributed, including Charles A. Beard, Carl L. 
Becker, Sidney B. Fay, J. Franklin Jameson, and St. George L. 
Sioussat. The volume started with "Acts of Congress" and 
closed with "Zimmermann Note." Such entries as "Scrap of 
Paper," "Spurlos Versenkt," and "Schrecklichkeit" were in- 
tended to remove all possible doubt on the subject of respon- 
sibility for the war. The cyclopedia sold for 25 cents. 

No. 8 of the tricolor series was German Treatment of Con- 
quered Territory (Part II of German War Practices) . It was 
edited by Munro, Sellery, and Krey and, like the first instal- 
ment, quoted prominent authorities on the wholesale pillage 
of Northern France and Belgium. Such men as Herbert 
Hoover, Brand Whitlock, and Hugh Gibson were used as 
sources, with a number of quotations from the Germans them- 
selves. More than 700,000 copies appeared. 

Several of President Wilson's writings made up the contents 
of No. 9 in the series, War, Labor, and Peace, which included 
two addresses to Congress on the subject of peace and recon- 
struction, and the text of Wilson's replies to peace proposals 
by the Pope and by Chancellor von Hertling and Count 
Czernin. Circulation was about a half-million, and the first 
edition appeared March 1918. 

The last in the tricolor series was German Plots and In- 
trigues in the United States during the Period of Our Neu- 
trality, by E. E. Sperry of Syracuse and Willis Mason West, 
formerly of Minnesota. It was a 64-page pamphlet, and 127,- 
153 copies were issued. It was based on Professor Sperry's 
previous work, for the National Security League and other 
groups, regarding German machinations on our soil. 

In all of these publications the effort was to present the 
Wilsonian war doctrine in a reasoned, accurate, authoritative 
statement that would appeal to educated people everywhere, 
but which at the same time would be understandable to all 
Americans. Authorities differed as to whether this purpose was 
accomplished. Booth Tarkington, for instance, was a careful 
observer of people, and he was enthusiastic. He wrote to Dean 

"Thank you for having sent to me ten copies of Conquest 
and Kultur. I have arranged for their distribution among the 
country people about Kennebunk and Kennebunk Port, copies 
to be in the village libraries also. These people are good and 
loyal, but not at all clear as to what we are fighting; somewhat 
mystified, too, as to why. Now and then a fisherman will say, 
'Well, I have heard some tellin' around that it's kind of a 
capitalists' war: dunno whether it's so or not/ Talk doesn't 
explain to him not authoritatively, to his mind. But if he 
reads a pamphlet 'got out by the United States GUV'MENT' 
he is 'impressed.' ' 

But Harold L. Ickes, chairman of the executive committee 
of the Illinois State Council of Defense, was one of many who 
felt that Dean Ford's scholars had not yet brought themselves 
down to the level of the common citizen. He wrote on Oc- 
tober 24, 1917, that he had not "seen anything yet that will 
appeal to the farmers, to the laboring men, or to the average 
run of citizens who do not do profound reading." He asked 
if there were not a danger "of trying to over-educate the al- 
ready educated, leaving the less well educated still groping 
as to what the war is all about?" 

mil. mm 

The Government has placed 
a price of $2.20 on wheat 

This assures 

The GovefTHTvefrt IMS neipeo 


YM nil? THI 





"Not Too Academic" 
Appeals to the Lowest Plane of Literacy and Understanding 

Once again, three months later, Mr. Ickes wrote to Dean 

"Spring is almost upon us and we haven't done a thing to 
reach the farmer. I haven't had any literature to send to the 
farmers of this State, or I would have sent it long ago. I think 
that just like any other American citizen he needs a general 
appeal along patriotic lines and not merely technical docu- 
ments which are often too voluminous and too prosy to get 
the desired results. . . . 

"The criticism that is being constantly made to me, even 
by college professors of my acquaintance, is that much of the 
matter so far issued is too academic and in that criticism, 
which I ventured to express to you personally some time ago, 
you seemed to concur. Yet to date we have nothing else and 
the farmer from all indications will go back to his intensive 
farm work for the summer, short handed, with no leisure for 
reading, knowing almost as little about the war and what his 

duty is with respect to it as at the close of the harvest season 
last fall." 

In direct response to criticism such as that from Mr. Ickes, 
the Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation proceeded 
to issue a new series, the four-page and eight-page Loyalty 
Leaflets, which were seven in number, had a circulation of 
about a half-million each, and were expressed, as to literacy, 
in terms of the least common denominator. 

No. i of the Loyalty Leaflets was Friendly Words to the 
Foreign Born by Judge Joseph Buffington. Translations were 
available in German, Bohemian, Italian, Hungarian, and 

Loyalty Leaflet No. 2, The Prussian System, was by Frederic 
C. Walcott of the U.S. Food Administration and a former 
relief administrator in both Poland and Belgium; he described 
German treatment of conquered peoples. 

Labor and the War, consisting of the President's address to 
the American Federation of Labor, was the third leaflet, and 
a companion piece, A War Message to the Farmer, gave the 
President's ideas as he had sent them to a farm conference at 
Urbana, Illinois. The fifth number was Plain Issues of the 
War, by Elihu Root, former Secretary of State, and this was 
followed by the President's proclamation, Ways to Serve the 
Nation. The seventh and last Loyalty Leaflet was What Really 
Matters, an unnamed writer's letter, which had been quoted 
in an Atlantic Monthly article by the Rev. Joseph H. Odell. 

One of the most ingenious devices for reaching the broad 
base of the people was a little booklet, The Kaiserite in Amer- 
ica, which was given a circulation of 5,550,521, but which was 
directed to the special attention of travelling men. In response 
to a suggestion from Russell L. Coxe of Schuylkill, Pennsyl- 
vania, Dean Ford had written: 

"It certainly seems to me that the national travelling men's 
organizations might well constitute themselves a flying squad- 
ron to combat idle rumors which are often the thoughtless 
repetition of German propaganda. ... I find that it does not 

take information but merely common sense and a sturdy 
squelching of those who either thoughtlessly or maliciously 
spread just the kind of thing which affects the morale of the 

In accordance with this plan, The Kaiserite in America was 
published, and fourteen of its fifty pages were taken up with 
a message beginning: 


"Here is an opportunity for the Commercial Travellers of 
America to do a great work toward winning the war. 

"You are summoned as specifically as if you were enlisted 
in the army or navy to aid the national cause. 

"Our troops will meet the enemy abroad. You can meet him 
at home. 

"Throughout the land the Kaiser's paid agents and unpaid 
sympathizers are spreading by word of mouth rumors, criti- 
cisms and lies, that aim to disrupt our national unity and to 
weaken the will of our people in the successful prosecution 
of our task in the great world war. . . . 

"It is your immediate task to 'swat the lie/ Whenever you 
hear one of these rumors or criticisms, pin the tale-bearer 
down. Ask him for proof. Don't be satisfied with hearsay or 

Following the introduction came the "One Hundred and 
One German Lies Nailed by the St. Louis Republic." Three 
samples will suggest the nature of the rumors and the italicized 

LIE No. 18. Repetitions of the lies that schools in towns at or near 
training camps are to be closed because girls are about to become mothers 
come in droves. Towns in the neighborhood of any camp site are picked 
by Kaiser aids for this canard. (Investigators declare this is utterly without 
foundation. The morale of men at the training camps cannot be better. 
Schools are not being interfered with for any purpose, they declare.) 

LIE No. 55. From a St. Louis source comes this one: That a German 
doctor in the United States Army at Camp Bowie, Tex., used spinal 
meningitis serum instead of typhoid serum sending 1,400 men to the 


hospital, and that he was shot for it the latter part of last week. (Col. F. P. 
Reynolds, Surgeon General's Office, Washington, D.C., had this to say 
of the report: "It is the most absurd and one of the wildest stories I have 
yet heard/') 

LIE No. 98. A story criticising Food Administrator Hoover for "eating 
a $7 meal at a banquet" and rising thereafter to preach conservation and 
economy, is being circulated in St. Louis. (AIJ such stories as this are based 
on exaggeration and are twisted and garbled for the purpose of creating 
dissatisfaction. Hoover is known to be unquestionably sincere in his work 
and to practise the things he urges others to do.) 

But even while efforts were being made to reach the lowest 
intellectual ranks, Dean Ford, as the chief representative of 
scholarship in the CPI, was called upon to deal with questions 
relating to scholarly books. Many a textbook fight arose during 
the war days. Book companies circulated rumors that their 
rivals' publications were tainted with pro-Germanism, and 
brought political pressure to have them excluded from the 
schools. When a book was thus under fire, and sometimes even 
if it was not, the publishers sought protective endorsement 
from the CPI. In June 1918, for instance, Dean Ford wrote 
this letter to Allyn and Bacon, in response to a request from 
that publishing firm: 

"Professor [Willis Mason] West's JVfodern History, pub- 
lished in 1903, was certainly the first textbook that pushed 
aside the German mask and showed behind it the features we 
now know so well as Prussian militarism with its immoral 
statecraft and worship of force. To have done this fifteen years 
ago is proof of Professor West's penetration and prevision." 
West's book, it seems, had been banned in Montana as pro- 
German and the competitors of Allyn and Bacon were making 
capital of this fact throughout the nation. 

In similar cases the drive against certain books reached such 
absurd lengths that standard works of history such as Robinson 
and Beard, Beard and Bagley, besides West, were involved. 
In a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, under whose juris- 
diction the Bureau of Education operated, Creel wrote: 

"Your interest as much as my own in the schools leads me 
to call your attention to certain phases of the textbook ques- 


tion, especially in the field of history that is now precipitated 
by rival publishers and patriots suffering from civic shell shock. 
Within the past two weeks we have been appealed to by pub- 
lishers and authors in three separate cases to get a reasonable 
hearing and treatment of school books in history, which were 
being thrown out of cities or whole states, for reasons essen- 
tially trivial a picture of the present German Emperor, of 
Frederick the Great, that the author's son (in fact only eleven 
years old) had been disloyal and the father equally so, or 
that the text said, 'Christianity advanced from the Rhine to 
the Elbe/ therefore the author was trying to show that Chris- 
tianity originated in Germany. 

"In some cases state defense councils have been the agency 
appealed to, in others the Department of Justice. 

"Whatever the reason, and some objections are more vapid 
than the above, I suspect a rival book company (in a glass 
house) has a stone missing from its garden walk. We can 
hardly expect that the Department of Justice will discriminate 
or defend/' 

It was suggested that a commission be formed to adjudge 
such matters. 

The question of banned books was a ticklish problem from 
every angle. By October 1918, the War Department itself 
had a list of seventy-five books which were banned from the 
army camps. Frederick P. Keppel, Third Assistant Secretary 
of War, and later president of the Carnegie Corporation, 
broached this problem to Ford on October 3, 1918: 

"There is a good deal of discussion now as to the Index 
Expurgatorius of the War Department, for which, of course, 
Mr. Baker gets personal credit. Would it be fair to ask your 
office to let me know informally the books which it might be 
profitable to have someone read with a view to their restora- 
tion to respectability. Fred Howe, for example, writes more 
in sorrow than in anger on the subject, and books like Ambrose 
Bierce's come fairly near being classics. I assume Le Feu was 
cut off from motives of propriety." 

Ford replied two days later: "When the recent controversies 
were up concerning the textbooks in history in the public 
schools, I suggested that some sort of a commission ought to 
be formed in this matter. . . . 

"I should suggest that this Commission, if it is formed, 
might well undertake to examine the War Department Index 
Expurgatorius. The list made up at present seems to me a very 
curious one and I have wondered about its origin." 

The first twenty titles on the War Department's Index Ex- 
purgatorius of September 30, 1918, were: 


America after the War 
America's Relations to the 

Great War 
Behind the Scenes in Warring 


Belgium and Germany 
Book of Truth and Facts 
Bolshevilci and World Peace 
Can Such Things Be? 
Christ and War 

Conquest of War 

Doing My Bit for Ireland 

Disgrace of Democracy 

Em den 

England and Germany in the 


England or Germany? 
England's World Empire 
European War of 1914 
German-American Handbook 


"An American Jurist" 
John W. Burgess 


Century Co. 

Edward Lyell Fox McBride, Nast 

J. H. Labberton 
Fritz von Frantzius 
Leon Trotzky 
Ambrose Bierce 

N. M. Thomas 
Margaret Skinnider 
Kelly Miller 
H. van Muecke 
R. J. Thompson 

Frank Harris 
A. H. Granger 
John W. Burgess 
F. F. Schrader 

German Deserter's War Ex- J. Koettgen (tr.) 

perience, A 
Germans as Exponents of Fritz von Frantzius 

Germany in War Time Mary E. McAuley 

Open Court 
The Author 
Boni and Liveright 
Neale Pub. Co. 
Brethren's Gen. 
Mission Board 
Fellowship Press 
Century Co. 
The Author 
Ritter and Co. 
Chappie Pub. Co. 

Wilmarth Press 
Open Court 
The Author 

The Author 
Open Court 

The Book Commission was nearly rounded into shape by 
the middle of October, but the Armistice intervened before 
operations commenced, so presumably Assistant Secretary 
Keppel was never able to restore F. C. Howe, Ambrose Bierce, 
and Henri Barbusse to respectability. 

But while the Index Expurgatorius was causing this work 
for Dean Ford, the CPI was also actively interested in a num- 
ber of other books which, though published commercially, had 
at least the informal approval of the Committee. For instance, 
C. E. Keck, eastern manager of Scott, Foresman and Com- 
pany, wrote to Dean Ford on February 18, 1918: "You will 
be interested to know, in view of our conversation, that Pro- 
fessor [Christian] Gauss's Democracy Today has gone into 
hundreds of high schools to do its part in helping on the 
propaganda of patriotism. 150,000 copies of this book have 
been sold in a month/' 

Many other commercially printed books were brought to 
the attention of the CPI, and several of the history texts in- 
cluded references to CPI publications. This technique was 
followed with thoroughness in the case of American Book 
Company's School History of the War, which was written by 
McKinley, Coulomb, and Gerson and was widely used in the 
secondary grades. 

Similar references appear in The Roots of the War, "a non- 
technical history of Europe 1870-1914," by William Stearns 
Davis of the University of Minnesota and principal editor of 
the CPI's first pamphlet, The War Message and the Facts 
Behind It. While the book was still in galley, Ford telegraphed 
the Century Company asking if he could see proof so that 
he could "refer to it in the forthcoming syllabus for the study 
of the war" the syllabus being Professor Harding's Study of 
the Great War in the War Information Series. The Roots of 
the War was dedicated "To the great host of young men who 
have gone forth from the classrooms of the University of Min- 
nesota to imperil their lives that righteousness may not perish 
before autocracy." 


Consistent with Dean Ford's ideas of decentralization, he 
adopted many plans for securing active local cooperation with 
his division. Contact was established both directly and 
through a number of important assisting groups. For example, 
here is a letter which he sent to all state superintendents of 
education in October 1917: 

"As you may know, the Committee on Public Information 
published in the summer a pamphlet called How the War 
Came to America with the three great addresses of the Presi- 
dent as a supplement. This is already being used by many 
schools as material in both their English and history classes. 

"We have recently had this translated into German by 
one of the most competent translators and I am encouraged 
to suggest the possibility of this German translation being used 
as reading and supplementary material in high school classes 
in German/' 

Then a mimeographed sheet addressed "To the Teachers 
of America," was sent broadcast, offering two of the Red, 
White, and Blue pamphlets on request. And more than a mil- 
lion and a half franked postcards, addressed to the CPI, were 
widely distributed, these cards likewise entitling the sender 
to free literature and bearing the message: "It is the earnest 
wish of your government that everybody be given an oppor- 
tunity to learn the facts regarding the causes for America's 
entry into the war, to see clearly our motives and aims and 
to learn why this conflict must continue until our aims are 

These means of reaching millions of people were effective, 
but it had been recognized for a long time that if patriotic 
ideas could be constantly repeated in the schools of the na- 
tion, it would be one of the most important avenues into the 
home. Much of the literature was reaching the schools al- 
ready, but the approach was not systematic or regular. The 
means of communication was provided, in the last month and 
a half of the war and continuing through the winter of 1919, 
in the National School Service, a sixteen-page paper, 9x12 


School Service 


THE UNITED WAR WORK wnon ad** a joint campaign to be par- THE GERMAN SCHOOLS AS 

ticipated in by these seven volunteer or- MTTR5FR1PQ OF 

ganixations, November 11 to 18, for the NUK&tKltS UK 

purpose of raising the necessary funds, CRACY 

Government Recognues Sven Volunteer R . n . 

Org.niz.tion, to Minister to Troop* Cemun and American Systems of Ednea. 

a, Horn, and Over... * >* Uon Contrasted 

Equalling if not surpassing in iignifl- is director general of the campaign acting How has it been possible for the ruling 
cance the world's eongress of religions is in cooperation with a national executive class in Germany to bold seventy million 

Dean Ford's Means of Access to 20,000,000 Homes 

in format, established in accordance with suggestions from 
the Emergency Council on Education and the educational 
commission of the National Education Association. 

The National School Service was attractive to children be- 
cause of its liberal use of war photographs, and it gave in con- 
cise, understandable form the facts of the war as they were 
understood in Washington. The paper was mailed free to 
teachers and could be obtained by others for $1 a year. Fol- 
lowing the original plan, it was edited so that it could be 
utilized in actual classroom work in a wide variety of fields 
from geography to arithmetic. Dean Ford was formally editor- 
in-chief until January 1919 (when he was succeeded by J, J. 
Pettijohn) , but the men most directly charged with respon- 
sibility for putting out the paper were W. C. Bagley, editor; 
J. W. Searson, managing editor; and Samuel B. Harding, 
editor of the historical section. It was edited at 10 Jackson 
Place until the end of the year, and then the office was moved 
to the Bureau of Education in the Interior Building. 

Through the War Department's Committee on Education 
and Special Training, which supervised the "War- Aims 
Course" required at virtually every American college and 
university under the Students Army Training Corps, the CPI 
was able to turn its pamphlets into textbooks for the higher 


branches of learning also. The files reveal a letter which 
apparently represents the start of this particular use of the 
publications: Frank Aydelotte, now president of Swarthmore 
College and chairman of the American Committee of the 
Rhodes Trust, was national director of the "War-Aims 
Course/' and he wrote in July 1918 asking for a stock of 
CPI literature. 

Other educational groups were similarly helpful, but none 
of them ranks with the National Board for Historical Service, 
either in purely scholarly assistance to the CPI in its editorial 
work or in its effective approach to school teachers, especially 
history teachers, all over the country. 

Dean Ford was himself a member of this famous group, 
which had been formed as the result of a conference called 
early in the war by the department of historical research of 
the Carnegie Institution. James T. Shotwell was the first 
chairman, and the list of his associates fairly glitters with 
names renowned in American scholarship Evarts B. Greene, 
Robert D. W. Connor, Frederick Jackson Turner, J. Franklin 
Jameson, William E. Dodd, William E. Lingelbach, Archi- 
bald Gary Coolidge, Waldo G. Leland, Dana Carleton Mun- 
ro, and many others. 

The first object of the Board was to help the government 
"through direct personal service." It was also hoped "to aid in 
supplying the public with trustworthy information of historical 
or similar nature/' and to encourage state and local groups. 
Although many scholarly contributions were published under 
individual bylines, or through the CPI pamphlets, the Board 
also had a publication schedule of its own. 

The N.B.H.S. prepared Teachers' Leaflet No. i, published 
by the Bureau of Education in September 1917, and the idea 
behind it was carried out in another way with great thorough- 
ness through the cooperation of the History Teacher's Maga- 
zine, the September 1917 issue of which carried announce- 
ment of coming articles on adaptation of history courses to 
the war, these articles being in preparation by the N.B.H.S. 



The Committee on Public Information 

Established by Order of the President, April 4, 1917 

Distribute free except as noted the following publications : 

I. Red, White and Blue Series : 

No. 1. How the War Came to America (English, 
German, Polish, Bohemian, Italian, Spanish 
and Swedish). 

No. 2. National Service Handbook (primarily 
for libraries, schools, Y. M. C. A.'*. Club-, 
fraternal organization?, etc., a? a guide and 
reference work on all forms of war ac'ivity, 
civil, charitable and military). 

No. 3. The Battle Line of Democracy. Prose 
and Poetry of the Great War. Price 25 cent. 
Special price to teachers. Proceeds to the 
Red Cross. Other issue? in preparation. 

No. 3. The Government of Germany, by Prof. 
Charles D. Hazen. 

No. 4. The Great War from Spectator to Par- 

No. 5. A War of Self Defense, by Secretary 
Lansing and Assistant Secretary of Labor 
Louis F. Post. 

No. 6. American Loyalty by Citizens of German 

No. 7. Amerikanische Biirgertreue, a transla- 
tion of No. 6. 

II. War Information Series : 

No. 1. The War Message and Facts Behind it. 

No. 2. The Nation in Arms, by Secretaries 
Lane and Baker. 

Other issues will appear shortly. 

III. Official Bulletin: 

Accurate daily statement of what all agencies of 
government are doing in war time?. Sent free 
to newspaper* and postmasters (to be put 
on bulletin boards). Subscription price $5.00 
per year. 

Address Requests to 

Committee on Public Information, Washington, D. C. 

What Can History Teachers Do Now? 

You can help the community realize what history 
should mean to it. 

You can confute those who by selecting a few historic 
facia keek u> establish ronie simple cure-all for humanity. 

You can confute those who urge that mankind can 
wipe the pan oil the elate and lay new foundations for 

You can encourage the sane use of eiperience in 
discussions of public questions. 

You can help people understand what democracy In 
by pointing out the common principle in the ideas of 
Plato, Cromwell, Rousseau, Jellerson, Jackson and 

You can help people understand what German autoc- 
racy haj> in common with the autocracy of the Grand 

You can help people understand that democracy is 
not inconsistent with law and efficient government. 

You can help people understand that failure of the 
past to make the world safe for democracy does not 
mean that it can not be made safe in the future. 

You can io teach your students that they will acquire 
"historical mindrdntM" and realize the connection of 
the past with the present. 

You can not dothece things unless you inform your 
aelf, and think over your information. 

You can help yourself by reading the following: 
"JIMory nrnl the Great War" hulk-tin of l!iiri-;iu of 

A wrios .,f nrti.-le< publMieil throughout the year in 

You can obtain aid anil advice by wilting to 

The National Hoi.fl fur Historical Service, 11.13 

Woodward liiiil.ling. Wa-hiiiKioii. H.C. 
Unit"! St:itt-< Hnri-.-.ii of (-Munition, J>i\ ivoii of civic 

Kilueaiiun. \\a-hiiiKion, I>. C. 
Committee nn Pul.lir Information. Di\ Mori ( IMm-n- Co-opt ration. 1<> Jm-ks.m Phi..-. Wnshin^. 

ton. 1). C. 
The Commiti.-.- on PHtriotism through K.ln.-aiion ,f 

the Naiionxl Security I.nK<i<-. ;:i 1'inc Mrccl, 

New York City 
Canute Kii-lowin-ht Peace. '.'.Jack- 

Km Place, Wn>hiiii.'ioti, I>. < . . 
Nation*! Comiiiiii.-i of l'inri..ti.-1111'l |)<-A't<ceS<H ictic-x, 

Southern Itiiil.hnit. Wnliiiiutn. !.'. 
The Worl.l IVin-e l-'niiii.iiitioii, I" Mount Vern-n S|.. 

Uosion. Mass. 
Ameri.-an A".H-i;ition for Ini.-nmtioiial Con.-iliiitton, 

40" W-*t II Til. S/lr.-<t. .Stw York Cilj'. 
The Amerii-Hii So.-i.ty f^r .Imlieinl Si-n lenient of 

Illlennillolilil Dispul.M, Itultiinore. M.I. 

The K.litor. Tin: HISUU:Y TKA-IIKI:'S MAI.AXIKF.. 

For Mobilizing the Nation's Schools 
Announcement in the "History Teacher's Magazine/' September 1917 


The same issue carried a full-page announcement (reproduced 
here) regarding free distribution of CPI publications. 

Each issue of the Magazine after that had a section headed 
"Timely Suggestions for Secondary School History/' with 
ideas for tying up the war with school courses in Ancient, 
European, English, and American History. Commencing with 
the January 1918 number, a series of War Supplements was 
published, reprinting articles or pamphlets useful in the same 
way. The authors included Christian Gauss, George M. 
Dutcher, Samuel B. Harding, and William E. Lingelbach. 

This whole program met with great success, and the Maga- 
zine circulation doubled during the war, making it one of 
the most important factors in mobilizing the history teachers 
of the country. The movement was further assisted by the 
prize contests conducted by the N.B.H.S. for teachers' essays 
on "Why the United States is at War." 

When Dean Ford was asked by the inquisitive Congress- 
men in June 1918 what people had helped his division, he gave 
a list of more than 1 50 scholars and others, but prefaced this 
by giving credit "first and above all" to the National Board 
for Historical Service. 

Dozens of other groups, however, cooperated with the CPI 
in either the "civic" or the "educational" phases of the work. 
In addition to chautauquas, Sunday Schools, settlement 
houses, and foreign-language clubs, assistance was given liber- 
ally by such other groups as the American Federation of La- 
bor, the Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., and the American Library 
Association. Liberty Loan solicitors and Four-Minute Men 
were important helpers in both advertising and distributing 
the publications, and the Boy Scouts of America gave out 
more than five million copies of the President's Flag Day 

Dean Ford was the leader in one of the greatest publishing 
ventures ever undertaken in this country. At the same time 
he had the task of making scholarship serve the ends of a 
country mobilized for war. Each pamphlet was suggested by 
Dean Ford to Mr. Creel, never the other way around. If Dean 

Ford was forced on occasion to publish things that would not 
pass muster as scholarship in more normal times, he must 
also receive credit for making no more concessions to the war 
spirit than were absolutely necessary for the director of a gov- 
ernment propaganda campaign. Considering all the circum- 
stances, Dean Ford was amazingly successful in avoiding 
"civic shell shock/' and the proof may be found in the dozens 
of manuscripts which would have given effective support to 
the war but represented a degree of hate and intolerance and 
hysteria which he refused to sanction. They remain in the 
CPI files to this day when they might, under some other lead- 
ership, have found their way into print. 


Chapter 8 

IF there was one Wilsonian concept fundamental to all the 
others it was that of a "People's War." You could differ 
with the President on the ship program and complain 
about living costs or the coal shortage; within limits you could 
express your opinion on the freedom of the seas, Czech na- 
tionalism, the comparative virtues of the Republican and 
Democratic Parties, or the ultimate fate of Bessarabia. All of 
this an American citizen could do. But if he did not grant that 
America was fighting by the will of the people in contrast 
to the Germans, who were fighting by the will of the Kaiser 
and his coterie of Junkers he was against Wilson and a traitor. 

Nowhere was the doctrine of a "People's War" more im- 
portant than in the relations between capital and labor, a 
complex of problems which engaged the attention of the CPI 
through its whole life. 

Not everyone granted that it was a people's war. Treasonous 
ideas were known to persist, in spite of the fact that their ex- 
pression might lead one into the toils of the federal marshal. 
Pacifists, pro-Germans, Socialists, anarchists, and I.W.W. 
organizers asserted, whenever they dared, that the war sup- 
posed to make the world safe for democracy was just another 
in a long line of imperialist engagements; that American capi- 
talists had forced us into war for selfish reasons; and that there 
were at least as many Junkers in this country as in Prussia. 

Gustavus Myers, a supporter of the war though a believer in 
social democracy, wrote to President Wilson in the fall of 
1917: "The real reason why certain sections of our working 
and farming population are either apathetic to our part in the 
war, or antagonistic to it, is the widespread conviction that 

the German government has done more for its working people 
than any other government. This conviction is the result of 
more than twenty-five years of astute German propaganda in 
this country/' 

This tendency might have the gravest effects on labor, which 
not only saw its interest as antagonistic to that of capital but 
was peculiarly susceptible to the appeal of radicals, if only 
because it included a horde of people born in foreign countries 
and not yet assimilated into American life. On top of all this 
was the fear that certain labor leaders, even with no ideological 
ends to serve, would seize the tempting opportunity for per- 
sonal or union advantage and call their men out. Employers 
were racked with anxiety as to what labor might do in a period 
of resentment against soaring costs of living and of nationwide 
shortage of manpower. 

But the leaders of the national government were worried, 
too. With industry part of the intricate mechanism of war, 
any serious break in production might bring disaster. A strike 
over wages or hours was therefore opposed not only by the 
employer's natural desire for docility in labor but also by the 
government's imperious demands for production. 

Labor's insistence on abstract rights might be as unpatriotic 
as deliberate sabotage suborned by the enemy and might, in 
fact, cause even more serious damage because of the speed 
with which the contagion of unrest can be communicated. 

The whole problem was summed up in an Edgar Guest 
poem sent to Carl Byoir with the compliments of the Com- 
monwealth Steel Company unusual auspices for literature 
but presenting a message frequently heard during the war. 


Said the workman to the soldier, as his ship put out to sea: 
"While you're over there for freedom, you can safely bank on me/ 
I'll be just as brave as you are, in a safer sort of way, 
And I'll keep production going every minute of the day." 

[ 188] 

Said the soldier to the workman, as the ship put out to sea: 
"I'll be true to you, my brother, if you'll just be true to me/ 
Now we've got to work together; it's my job to bear a gun, 
But it's yours to keep on toiling if we're going to lick the Hun." 

Said the workman to the soldier: "I will back you to the last. 
No more strikes for higher wages till the danger time is passed/" 
Said the soldier to the workman: "I'm for you and you're for me. 
Now we understand each other, let the ship put out to sea." 

There were no two ways about it: labor must be kept in 
line if the war was to be won. 

That was perhaps the biggest of all the big jobs assigned 
to the CPI and the formal record does not even suggest the 
careful attention with which the campaign was followed. 

This industrial-relations work of the CPI is not fully or 
frankly treated in any published report, because much of the 
effort was carried on through a technically independent or- 
ganization, the American Alliance for Labor and Democracy, 
and because the CPI's own Division of Industrial Relations 
was soon transferred to the Department of Labor. But in every 
publication of the Committee, in the appeal of its Four-Min- 
ute Men, its news stories, its posters, its movies, and its syndi- 
cate features, the effect on labor was carefully considered. And, 
as will be seen, close contact with employers was maintained 
through field agents and in other ways. 

The CPI, of course, was but one of the government agencies 
keeping a sharp eye on the movement of labor opinion and 
attempting to encourage it in the desired direction. The Coun- 
cil of National Defense, the War Industries Board, the War 
Labor Administration, the U.S. Employment Service, Military 
Intelligence these and many others were vitally concerned 
not only with wages and hours and with regulation of man- 
power resources for essential industries, but with the whole 
great problem of labor morale. 

Thus the military requirements of the government and the 
self-interest of capital tended to reinforce each other in seek- 

ing to ensure the patriotism of labor and to preserve industrial 

Employer groups such as the National Association of Manu- 
facturers were not reluctant to tell labor where its duty lay, 
but the most successful patriotic education of the working 
masses was through labor's own recognized leaders. Samuel 
Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, 
was a member of the Council of National Defense and tireless 
in persuading workers in this country (and later in other coun- 
tries, too) that labor's interest would be best served through 
unquestioning support of President Wilson. Gompers was 
more important than any other man except the President him- 
self in getting labor to accept the "People's War." 

Nearly every war board included a labor member, and it 
was possible to say that in nearly all the details of price-fixing, 
labor standards, compulsory arbitration, and the policy of 
"work or fight" (which critics called labor conscription) labor 
joined in the decision. It was not until after the war that Gros- 
venor Clarkson, director of the Council of National Defense, 
said that Hugh Frayne, labor member of the War Industries 

Board "was not on the Board to represent labor but to man- 

age it. 

The most important of all the devices of labor control 
through the apparently spontaneous action of labor itself was 
the American Alliance for Labor and Democracy. Samuel 
Gompers was president; J. G. Phelps Stokes, former Populist 
and Socialist, treasurer; and Robert Maisel, director and active 

Maisel was also director of the CPI Division of Labor Pub- 
lications, and the two organizations maintained joint offices 
in New York. Among the staff members of Labor Publications 
were Herman Robinson, organization director; Chester M. 
Wright, publicity director; Joseph Chykin, Jewish organizer; 
W. R. Gaylord, field agent; George Seldes, director of speak- 
ers; and Victor H. Arnheim, assistant publicity director. 

In most respects the Alliance may be considered a field or- 
ganization of the CPI charged with the special responsibility 

of keeping labor industrious, patriotic, and quiet. The Alliance 
had approval from high sources. When Cyrus McCormick, 
the Chicago manufacturer who was an old friend of President 
Wilson, wrote to Creel that his financial help had been so- 
licited by Frank Wolfe of the Alliance, the chairman of the 
CPI replied: "The Wolfe matter ... is very close to us, and 
anything that you can possibly do will be of tremendous as- 
sistance. This is our most important body, and I am eager to 
have it stand on its own feet. If you and your friends in Chi- 
cago can help Wolfe, you will not only please me, but others 
who are above me." 

The Alliance had departments of organization, literature, 
and public speaking, and through all of these it served as the 
"front" for a large part of the government's work with labor. 
In its first six months the Alliance set up 1 50 branches in forty 
states, distributed 1,980,000 pamphlets, conducted 200 mass 
meetings, and secured 10,000 columns of newspaper publicity. 

But parallel CPI efforts were proceeding at the same time, 
one of the most interesting centering about the person of 
Roger W. Babson, statistician, business analyst, and employ- 
er's counsel. His private organization known as the Wellesley 
Associates had specialized in studying industrial-relations and 
other problems for large employers, and at the beginning of 
1918 he began negotiations with the CPI. In February of that 
year he joined the Creel organization (at the modest salary 
of $65 a month, plus $40 expenses) , as director of the Divi- 
sion of Industrial Relations, and he was soon turning out ideas 
in profusion. He wrote to Carl Byoir regarding his series of 
"Pay-Envelope Stories": ". . . Keep in mind that I now have 
a following of 200,000 workers who know me and my work. 
Therefore this should be put out more or less as a personal 
message from me. . . . My purpose of uniting with Mr. Creel 
is to increase my 200,000 to one or more million." 

This pay-envelope plan was one of the most ingenious of 
the whole CPI publishing program a minute pamphlet, 
2% x 2 l /4 inches in size and containing text designed to do 
one of two things: increase productive efficiency or provide 





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patriotic inspiration and interest in the war. Mr. Babson pro- 
posed that the Wellesley Associates continue to serve their 
clients in the efficiency campaign and that the CPI assume 
sponsorship for his purely patriotic messages. One booklet of 
the latter sort under CPI auspices was Human Bait, which told 
dramatically the story of how the Germans allegedly tied an 
American to the barbed wire in No Man's Land to lure his 
comrades to destruction. 

This, however, was only part of Babson's program. He also 
put out four CPI Labor Bulletins, and material from Dean 
Ford's Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation was 
also utilized when it had labor appeal. Sometimes it was is- 
sued with a special Alliance imprint and no suggestion of 
government auspices a plan agreed upon by Ford and Creel. 

Mr. Babson also put out a series of posters, two of which 
are reproduced here. According to a letter from Babson to 
William }. Cameron, then a member of Chicago's National 
Security Council, the posters for the employees were supple- 
mented by confidential bulletins for employers. Presumably 
these were the releases of the "CPI Special Service to Em- 
ployers," the first issue of which gave the results of a study 
by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that average cost 
of living in manufacturing centers had risen about 40 or 45 
per cent from 1914 to 1917. 

Babson (whose biography in Vol. XX of Who's Who in 
America says: "Served as dir. gen. information and edn., by 
apptmt of U.S. Govt. during war period") had tremendous 
plans for industrial-relations work in the CPI, but they did 
not come to pass. After looking over Babson's past work and 
his new projects, George Creel wrote to Secretary of Labor 
William B. Wilson on March 11, 1918: 

"The campaign that he contemplates is so directly con- 
cerned with matters that are fundamentally within the prov- 
ince of your Department that I have come to the belief that 
the whole work should be taken over by you. ... As I have 
explained to Mr. Babson, there is nothing that he wishes me to 
do that I will not attempt to do, and this applies to the use 

[ 193] 



E ON * s^^W 6 * STATE 

, D. C. 

Let us Remember 

The Russians meant well. 

But they took time to talk while the 
house was burning! 

Of course the Kaiser encouraged them. 

He knew that would be the easiest way 
to lick them! 

We mast not let him play the 
same trick on us. 

For ertrm copies addrm: 

4.**'+', Warfungton. D. C. 

When Babson Moved to the Department of Labor 
Corrections on a Poster Originally Planned for CPI Imprint 

of the Four-Minute Men, the Speaking Division, and the 
publication of printed matter that you may not be able to 
issue." A first edition of Labor Bulletin No. 4 appeared with 
the CPI imprint, but with Babson identified as chief of the 
Division of Inquiry and Education, Department of Labor, 
and for later editions even the CPI imprint was removed. 
From time to time the CPI made reprints of its posters for 
Babson, who reported that many manufacturers were request- 
ing them to hang in their plants. 

When Babson withdrew from the CPI picture, the Com- 
mittee continued to work through the Labor Publications 
Division (which was separate from Industrial Relations) and 
through the Alliance. Actually, representatives of the Labor 
Publications office did a great deal of field work bearing only 
the most indirect relation to distribution of literature, and in 
a sense it may be said that this division took over many of 
the functions that were handled by Mr. Babson during his 
brief stay with the CPI. 

Labor-capital relations during the World War have never 
been adequately reported, and there is not space here to add 
more than a few of the new facts that have come to light 
in the CPI files. But a general understanding of the approach 
to the great problem by labor, by capital, and by the CPI, can 
be gained through a series of quotations from the files, ar- 
ranged roughly in chronological order from the winter to the 
fall of 1918: 

Harold L. Ickes of the Illinois Council of Defense, one of 
the CPFs most constant correspondents, wrote Creel on Janu- 
ary 22 that the American Alliance should lose no time in or- 
ganization, and that he feared Gompers might be the reason 
for the delay. In reply Creel offered to assume the expense of 
a Chicago office of the Alliance and the salary of an executive 
secretary. "I cannot afford even to seem to go into opposition 
to Mr. Gompers' wishes, but I do feel that the Chicago situ- 
ation should have independent treatment/' 

At the end of March we find a letter from Dean Ford to 
George Creel agreeing on use of the Alliance, rather than 
the CPI, imprint for the leaflet Why WorJcingmen Support 
the War by Professor John R. Commons of the University 
of Wisconsin. Commons said: 

"This is an American workingmen's war, conducted for 
American workingmen, by American workingmen. Never be- 
fore has democracy for wage earners made so great progress 
as it has in the six months that we have been at war. If this 
continues, American labor will come out of this war with the 
universal eight-hour day, and with as much power to fix its 
own wages by its own representatives as employers have. Any- 
body who says that this is a capitalistic war simply does not 
see what is going on. Capitalists are being controlled in their 
profits and in the wages and hours of laborers by leaders whom 
the workingmen themselves put on the various war boards/' 

But at least some people thought that capitalists were not 
being controlled with sufficient rigor. On March 2, 1918, W. 
R. Gaylord, field agent of the Alliance and the CPI Labor 
Publications Division, wrote to Gompers about evasion of the 
Eight-Hour Law by Milwaukee manufacturers who held con- 
tracts for 300,000 pairs of shoes: "These contracts are all 
PURCHASE CONTRACTS [i.e. treating the shoes as if al- 
ready manufactured] and according to information from the 
War Department, the provisions of the Eight-Hour law do 
not apply. . . . Such material as this constitutes an explosive 
of high potential character if it should happen to be brought to 
light in connection with the candidacy of Victor L. Berger 
for the U.S. Senate, for instance/' Gaylord also feared ob- 
struction in the progress of the Alliance if these facts should 
become known, and added that if the Alliance could correct 
the situation it would help its popularity a great deal. The 
letter was referred to Creel, who was informed by McCon- 
aughy that, "according to law, the government cannot insist 
on an eight-hour day in 'certain types of contracts/ the 'certain 
types' apparently covering most of the important supplies/' 

[ 196] 

From the War Industries Board the CPI obtained lists of 
important iron, steel, copper, zinc, lead, and ammunition 
plants under war contract. The American Alliance for Labor 
and Democracy sent a letter to each employer announcing 
"a strong campaign of education among the war workers of 

Carl Byoir, in outlining the plan to Walter C. Hecker of 
Curtis and Company, St. Louis, on April 18, 1918, proposed 
that a central office send out patriotic posters signed by the 
government, patriotic booklets, payroll inserts, an official but- 
ton sanctioned by the War Department, and a service flag 
for workers' homes. In addition, motion pictures were to be 
used both to bring the war home to labor, and to arouse the 
competitive spirit through pictures of workmen engaged in 
similar work in France, England, and the United States. 

Mr. Hecker replied on April 23 in a letter to the CPI: "We 
are endeavoring to spread among our men the real American 
propaganda. ... It makes no difference whether a man makes 
munitions or whether he does not to strike is unpatriotic. If 
he makes munitions, it does look as though it is unpardonable. 
If he does not make munitions, it is against the public inter- 
est, as it prevents the public having money for investing in 
bonds, Thrift Stamps, and other similar good causes/' 

Other people agreed. J. B. Haynes, "Publicity Campaigns/' 
Omaha, had written Creel on April 20: "Millions of hours 
have been wasted by strikes in America on war work. . . . 
Shipbuilders unions have a rule forbidding a man to drive 
more than 75 rivets a day, when he might drive hundreds. 
Read General Crozier's testimony before the Congressional 
Committee, showing how the laborites got a rider through 
Congress which sanctioned such criminal sloughing as the 75 
rivets a day, reducing the efficiency of the men in munitions 
factories 50 per cent." 

A. C. Hetherlin of the American Woodworking Machinery 
Company, Rochester, New York, sent to the CPI on April 
30 a letter from Henry A. Wise Wood, chairman of the Con- 
ference Committee on National Preparedness: 

"The weakest point in our war work today is the attitude 
of labor. . . . The United States has had an enormous number 
of strikes since the war started; but even if all strikes should 
end, if we should never have another strike . . . that unexpect- 
ed condition would not be all that labor should do for vic- 
tory. . . . Labor must be shown the necessity for rising above 
its technical rights, and that instead of doing its duty in a 
merely perfunctory manner, it must put all of its might into 
the work of producing. . . . The wives and daughters of work- 
ingmen constitute a force easily quickened into action to make 
the workingmen stick to their tasks and do more and better 
work. There is no influence stronger than this. Women must 
be taught the danger to their loved ones, which lies in a strike 
or in shirking/' 

At the same time that employers were approached, the 
American Alliance for Labor and Democracy was writing to all 
of the local unions in the United States. After informing those 
bodies that the Alliance had been called into being to unite 
all the workers all the people in support of America and 
America's ideals in the war, the communication declared: 
"Nothing short of unified cooperation of both our laborers 
and our soldiers will win this war." But winning the war was 
not to be the end, for, "When this battle is won and the world, 
chastened and rejuvenated, will sit down to the task of re- 
adjusting social conditions on principles of universal right and 
justice, we have every reason to expect Labor to be an im- 
portant factor, probably the important factor in its delibera- 

By May 1918, without waiting for responses to the above 
letter to labor unions, the CPI launched its workingmen's 
propaganda plan, working principally through employers. The 
campaign was prosecuted by two field agents, Russell Mc- 
Farland, formerly advertising manager of the Ford Motor 
Company of Canada, and Clifford W. Babson of the sales de- 
partment, U.S. Cartridge Company, and by C. H. Howard, 
president of Commonwealth Steel Company, who sent letters 

to manufacturers of war materials. Aiding in the effort was 
Captain C. R. Dickinson of the Ordnance Department. 

The first of these agents to report was McFarland, who 
had sounded out concerns in and around Baltimore and Phila- 
delphia. He wrote that except for "one shell-maker, who 'was 
too busy assimilating 1,000 new employees a month to think 
of anything else/ ... the employer has definitely said he 
would appreciate further advice along this line and would 
like to cooperate with the government in the work/' 

In a memorandum to Byoir, McFarland said that all manu- 
facturers interviewed had suffered greatly from the loss of men 
to the colors, or to the shipbuilding industry, or to munition 
plants able to pay higher wages. All complained about the 
high labor turnover and in many cases suggested that the 
government do something to stop labor from drifting about. 

As for increasing production, the memorandum said: "Pres. 
Wilhelm of the Eddystone Ammunition Company told 
of a speech Harry Lauder had made to his men urging in- 
creased production and stated the result had been a TWEN- 

As these reports and estimates of interviews began to come 
in, Captain Dickinson was keeping the CPI informed of other 
places that needed its attention. On May 11 he forwarded a 
letter from an inspector of ordnance stationed at Consho- 
hocken, Pennsylvania. That officer urgently requested a 
prompt shipment of patriotic posters to be used and distrib- 
uted through the plant of the Fisk Rubber Company. There 
was need for rapid delivery because labor trouble was brewing 
at the plant, "which in all probability will result in a strike. 
. . . Strikes have been threatened twice which were prevented 
by more remuneration to the workmen of this company but 
the labor condition here is decidedly unsettled at the present 

In line with the work of McFarland, Clifford W. Babson 
in New York was interviewing employers engaged in govern- 
ment war work. From his early interviews, Babson concluded 

[ 199 ] 

that smelting companies, employing a low grade of foreign 
labor, would have to treat their problem along lines different 
from those of manufacturers who employed skilled labor. The 
treasurer and the chairman of the board of one concern were 
skeptical about increasing efficiency among workers by ap- 
pealing to their patriotic sense of duty. Of those men Babson 
said: "Their experience had been that monetary inducement 
was the most positive means of obtaining concrete results. 
They conceded, however, that the increased wages which they 
had paid, had not brought about the efficiency which they 
had hoped to obtain/' 

While these field agents were at work, Mr. Howard of 
Commonwealth Steel sent a form letter to a selected list of 
employers. This letter of May 13, 1918, had received the ap- 
proval of Byoir on May 4, when the latter sent Howard the 
list of companies having contracts with the Ordnance De- 
partment. The associate chairman wrote, "I know we are ask- 
ing a great deal of you, but I do feel, that you are rendering, 
in this connection, a very vital patriotic service/' 

Howard's letter was generally similar to the one that Byoir 
had written to Walter C. Hecker as quoted above, but ended: 
"After many years of practical experience with the principles 
of human engineering in industry, I am convinced that the 
maximum of service can be unfailingly secured through a 
genuine Cooperative Fellowship relation between employee 
and employer. We must have 'humanics as well as mechanics/ 
And I believe that a conference of employers would be very 
fruitful in developing ideas, as well as ways and means of 
securing 'maximum production with minimum manpower/ ' 

Three days after Captain Dickinson had forwarded the 
Conshohocken request for patriotic posters, he was sending 
Howard the following reactions of E. I. du Pont de Nemours 
& Co. "We feel that the poster will make a strong appeal to 
any one whose veins contain 'red blooded Americanism/ pic- 
turing as it does sturdy American manhood with sleeves rolled 
up determinedly doing his allotted portion. The necessity of 
working as well as cheering is clearly shown. We believe the 

effect on our workmen will be beneficial and hope they will 
be stimulated as much as one of our lady stenographers, who 
after gazing a few seconds said, while her eyes sparkled, 'My, 
it sends a thrill along my spine/ ' 

In Detroit, McFarland had a chance to speak at a manu- 
facturers' dinner and was anxious to go after big companies 
without regard to their connection with ordnance contracts. 
To this suggestion Byoir was cold. He told McFarland to 
make no more speeches and to stick to the prepared list of 

In St. Louis, meanwhile, President Howard of Common- 
wealth Steel was getting a splendid response to his letter of 
May 13. The first reply deserves special notice not only be- 
cause of chronology but because it differed so strikingly from 
the majority of the replies. J. E. Frederick, secretary and gen- 
eral manager of the Kokomo Steel and Wire Company, wrote: 

"If we are to make the world safe for democracy we must 
first democratize our industrial organizations. That this pays 
I am convinced, because we have been following this plan for 
the last eight years. We have had no labor trouble during the 
last four years, and our production is steadily increased each 
year, therefore, you need not make this exclusively] a labor 
effort, but much education could be absorbed along this line 
by our industrial managers." 

S. P. Bush, president and general manager of the Buckeye 
Steel Castings Company, Columbus, Ohio, also felt that "the 
employers themselves would have to be educated/' but not 
many of the employers recommended patriotic work in their 
own group. 

John A. Westman, general manager of the Dahlstrom 
Metallic Door Company, Jamestown, New York, reported dis- 
couragement with previous attempts to instruct workers, and 
welcomed government sponsorship of the drive, "in view of 
the strong Socialistic propaganda that has been carried on in 
this country, as well as other countries, for a great number 
of years, and which, in the last few years, appears to have been 

[201 ] 

gradually taken up by the clergy and the professors of the col- 
leges of the country, as a result of which there appears to be 
a strong antagonistic feeling towards any employers of labor/' 

Something was wrong with the workers in the opinion of 
L. J. Monahan, president of the Universal Motor Company, 
Oshkosh, Wisconsin: "There is a contageous disease going 
the rounds making the men dissatisfied regardless of what is 
done for them. There is no limit nor is there any way to sat- 
isfy them under the present conditions where they congregate 
evenings at their Union Hall and disgus the one side of the 
question. The thing has gone so far that it is going to be a 
big job to sway the attitude by any educational system, but 
something should be done to show them that they should be 
reasonable and no better way would be than through men 
working within the union and swaying them at these meeting 
places which seems to hold their undivided interest." 

A similar opinion was expressed by C. L. Coughlin of 
Briggs and Stratton Electrical Specialties, Milwaukee: "We 
are at the present time in Milwaukee having propaganda 
spread by labor agitators and the government does not seem 
to take the right amount of precaution towards cutting down 
this sort of thing that is certainly hindering production. . . . 
We are enclosing a paragraph from a recent report received 
by us from our representative who attended one of these meet- 
ings/' The accompanying paper read: "Nicholson opened by 
saying that it had been said that Milwaukee was noted for its 
fine beers and long working hours and low wages. He said he 
was here to use his influence in organizing the machinists so 
they could demand wages that rightfully belonged to them, 
and that were being paid to the same class of mechanics in 
nearly every place in the U.S." 

H. R. Wade of the Diamond Forging and Manufacturing 
Company, Pittsburgh, wrote: "To give you an instance [of 
workers' feeling about "too much officialdom"], one of our 
laborers called my attention to a paragraph in a Polish paper 
that an individual named Frankfurter, of some college, had 
been appointed by President Wilson to a position in the Labor 


Department, and requested enlightenment as to how such a 
man could use any influence with common labor." 

The personnel superintendent of the Winchester Repeating 
Arms Company of New Haven had this to say: "We have a 
service flag for display in the window of the home, a war 
medal, a factory Intelligence Bureau to which are reported 
disloyal utterances or actions, and conduct daily at noon and 
periodically during working hours, talks by prominent persons 
and veterans of the war to keep the matter clearly in the minds 
of all. The response of employees of this plant to the various 
Liberty Bond sales has been very good, and the spirit has de- 
veloped to the point where the co-workers of any slacker use 
the necessary moral (or physical) suasion upon those declin- 
ing to participate. You will note from the bracket clause that 
we have had to exercise care to see that the spirit developed 
did not get beyond reasonable bounds." 

Such a worker attitude did not exist everywhere, as one 
could learn from the following words of F. E. Nulsen, presi- 
dent and general manager of the Missouri Malleable Iron 
Company, East St. Louis: "The opinion expressed by every 
employer of labor is that labor with each advance in wages 
made is becoming more inefficient and more indifferent from 
day to day. It is as a rule now taking two or three men to do 
the work accomplished by one man before the war. This is 
all wrong; in fact, is but little short of criminal, and I feel that 
if the laboring element can be awakened as to the necessity 
of their putting forth every ounce of strength they have, that 
good must be accomplished." 

To deal with men and women who were receiving more 
money than ever before, T. S. Grasselli, of the Grasselli Chem- 
ical Company, Cleveland, had the following idea: "The most 
efficient force to correct this condition will be proper legisla- 
tion from Washington, making it criminal for a man to be idle 
when any government work has to be done in any community, 
and the regulation of uniform wages for men in different sec- 
tions of the country will also have to be established." 


National Association of Manufacturers 

of the United States of America 

General Offices: 30 Church Street 

NLW YORK. May 18. 1918. 

E. C. Atkins & Co., 
Indiana poll*. Ind. 

Dear Siri- Attention of the General Manager. 

As a patriotic and progressive industrial concern, 
directly or indirectly engaged in government war contract 
operations, you will be interested to know that we have 
prepared for free distribution, ^a series (known as Series?) 
of illustrated and colored educational posters, 19x5 
inches in size, appealing to the workers on government 
contracts to remain constantly loyal to their brothers in 
the trenches by co-operating to the utmost with their 
employers in maintaining and speeding up production. 

These posters are available to any contractor working 
on government material, without any charge whatever. All 
that is asked is that you advise us of the number of sets 
or specific posters desired, and we will send them to 
you immediately upon receipt of your request. 

It is our belief that much of the unrest in the 
industrial field which has afflicted our country in the 
past can be elimated by diplomatically calling publto 
attention to the effect thereof and demonstrating that 
our Industries are doing and will continue to do their 
full share if all hands pull together in the common 

We are sending you enclosed herein an order blank 
showing in miniature reproductions of the series of posters 
referred to. If you can use all of the twelve posters 
in this set, or any of the same, and will advise us of 
your requirements, we will send them to you. All that 
we ask is that the posters be exhibited in located shop 
windows, factory bulletin boards, offices, etc., where 
they may be seen and read to best advantage. 

Thanking you for your co-operation and awaiting your 
advices in the matter, we are with best wishes 

Yours very truly, 

Special Rep re sensitive, 
Industrial Department. 


Help from the National Association of Manufacturers 

[ 204 ] 

At least two remedies for the lack of return for higher wages 
were suggested. O. B. Mueller, Mueller Metals Company, 
Port Huron, Michigan, after observing that at least 95 per 
cent of the men employees were doing actually less work than 
they would have done in normal times, wrote, "We have re- 
sorted to the use of women with great success/' 

The second remedy was suggested by H. }. Wiegand, man- 
ager of the Wisconsin Gun Company, Milwaukee: "Our plant 
is entirely owned and controlled by the government, and the 
labor situation so far has not been a difficult one for us to 
handle, due to the fact that we are working directly with the 
government, and turning over to them weekly reports regard- 
ing conditions of labor, fire prevention, and other protection." 

As a means of increasing production the Industrial Depart- 
ment of the National Association of Manufacturers sent out 
a series of twelve posters, some of which are illustrated here. 

But M. D. Baldwin, vice-president of the Oliver Machinery 
Company, Grand Rapids, pointed out: "It is hard to talk to 
men about the 'speed-up' in your production to help win the 
war, when the same 'speed-up' in production will naturally 
mean a larger profit to the manufacturer, and although a larger 
profit to the manufacturer will result in a high wage scale, it 
seems a long ways around the circle to very many men/' 

Mutual understanding between employer and employee was 
advocated by }. F. Welborn, president of the Colorado Fuel 
and Iron Company, Denver: "We have for a number of years 
maintained a cooperative policy with our employees as to gen- 
eral working and living conditions." 

The same idea was expressed by E. T. Weir, president of 
Phillips Sheet and Tin Plate Company, Weirton, West Vir- 
ginia: "Our own experience is that excellent results are be- 
ing secured from the detailed efforts being carried on by the 
officers of the company with our employees. . . . We feel that 
this is a time when what is particularly needed is close per- 
sonal contact on the part of the heads of a manufacturing 
company with the employees; that probably the influence of 
their own officers is greater and more lasting than any influ- 


ence that might come through a centralized effort that was 
participated in by a great number of employees/' 

In one of McFarland's letters to Byoir, he said, "I've cov- 
ered all kinds of shops; heard all lines of talk; from the em- 
ployer that damns all his men as lunkheads to the man who 
thinks they are the salt of the earth/' 

Probably McFarland would have put in the more human 
category the officer of the Toledo Scale Company, George W. 
Hoke, who wrote to Howard: "A real earnest and honest at- 
tempt to prepare a program of the things the worker ought to 
know will bring home to the employer many things he also 
should know. I think that this campaign of education ought 
to go far deeper than stimulating posters or ginger talks for 
pay envelopes. It also looks forward over a period of time much 
longer than the period of the war. It ought to be a far sighted 
program which would make us all more reasonable human 

As the spring of 1918 wore on, the CPI decided that a new 
effort was needed. Accordingly, at a conference on May 27 
between Carl Byoir and Henry Atwater of the CPI, plans were 
made for resolutions to be presented in the name of organized 
labor at a meeting in St. Paul early in June. Everything went 
according to schedule. The meeting was held in St. Paul under 
the auspices of the American Alliance, and the plan for an 
Industrial Information Bureau adopted was substantially that 
drawn up in the CPI office more than a week earlier. 

John P. Frey, editor of the Molders Journal and a member 
of the A.F. of L. mission to Europe, presented the plan at the 
St. Paul meeting. The Industrial Information Bureau, which 
would help stimulate all branches of industry, was to include 
one representative each from the Department of Labor, A.F. 
of L., American Alliance, War Department, Navy Depart- 
ment, the CPI, and the manufacturers. The CPI was to be 
the service unit for the new agency. 

As to the work which this new organization would do, Mr. 
Frey said it would "not undertake any work in connection 
with the improvement of housing or working conditions, or 


jg|3^i> -|> 5 

IslI its 

--. ^a . UJ 






207 ] 

with adjustment of wages. It will necessarily presuppose the 
existence of proper conditions or that they will be secured 
through agencies already in existence." 

Gompers was eager for the new committee to commence 
operations because, as Robert Maisel reported: ' 'There are 
many cities and states where labor is expecting trouble, es- 
pecially in the states of Michigan, some parts of Ohio, Wis- 
consin, and Illinois." But Mr. Creel, far from being able to 
reassure the A.F. of L. chief, had to write that, as a result 
of the Congressional budget cut: "I am no longer able to ex- 
tend financial aid to the American Alliance for Labor and 
Democracy. I am informing Mr. Maisel after August i the 
existing arrangements will cease." Since Congress had not 
penalized the Labor Department in similar fashion, however, 
Creel suggested that Babson might adopt the Alliance. 

Relations with the CPI were not immediately severed, but 
activities were greatly curtailed from that time on, though at 
the end of August, Chester M. Wright, publicity director, was 
still sanguine as to the possibilities of the Alliance. The thing 
that appealed to him especially was that many radical mem- 
bers of the Alliance could be used for speaking purposes where 
an admitted government agent should not appear. 

While the famous Alliance meeting in St. Paul was going 
on, the CPI had assumed an important new duty in connec- 
tion with the government approach to labor it took over the 
publicity work of the Labor Department. After a series of 
telegrams, Leigh Reilly, director of the CPI News Division, 
gave the assignment to William L. Chenery, one of George 
Creel's fellow alumni of the Rociy Mountain News and today 
editor of Collier's. 

Aside from the CPI weekly labor letter, which reviewed 
the news of the organized workers as late as December 1918, 
one of the last efforts of the Creel Committee to remedy the 
industrial situation was undertaken by Chester Wright, who 
was at that time in charge of the Division of Labor Publica- 
tions. After a conference with Creel, Sisson, and Frank P. 
Walsh, he went to Detroit in the first part of September 1918 


to investigate the pronounced lapse in the work of the Ameri- 
can Alliance for Labor and Democracy. Following a personal 
survey, which included consultation with leaders in virtually 
every war trade in the city, he came to the conclusion that in- 
tolerable working conditions were to blame for the failure of 
active loyalty work. 

According to Wright in his report dated September 27, 
1918, grievances included excessive, continuous overtime work 
at regular rates of pay; discrimination against union members; 
manipulation of the draft machinery to the detriment of the 
unions; improper use of the Liberty Loan and other drives to 
make men either remain at work under unsatisfactory condi- 
tions or lose money pledged in payment; and finally, unusually 
low wages and unusually high prices. Wright held that "an 
attempt to proceed with loyalty work without an adjudication 
of industrial conditions would be pure waste of time." 

The use of fund-raising machinery attracted his special in- 
terest. According to his information: "The manufacturers sub- 
scribe for an amount computed on the payroll of the estab- 
lishment. This lump sum is then apportioned among the em- 
ployees who in many cases at least feel under compulsion to 
take the amount allotted by the employer. The employees 
make payments to the firm in instalments. ... It has been 
the custom in many plants, I was told, for the employers to 
withhold the wages of an employee leaving the company to 
be applied on unpaid payments for bonds. ... It is the opinion 
of Detroit labor bodies that this system is used by the em- 
ployers, partly at least, in the hope of inducing men to remain 
at work under unjust conditions." 

Mr. Walsh had authorized Wright, according to the latter, 
to say to the workers in Detroit that if they had grievances, 
and would present them to the War Labor Board (of which 
Mr. Walsh was chairman) he would guarantee them a hear- 
ing. But the men in Detroit were skeptical, for there had been 
one continuous record of disappointments. Wright tele- 
graphed Walsh about the situation, and the latter wired to 
bring a delegation of as many as twelve to Washington at gov- 

[ 20 9 ] 

ernment expense as witnesses. Eleven of them accompanied 
Wright to the capital where their complaints were presented 
to the War Labor Board. Upon the strength of that testimony, 
investigators were sent to Detroit, and Wright understood 
that Mr. Walsh and William Howard Taft were to go there 
to conduct a hearing. 

Through all of this labor experience Creel strove valiantly 
to hold his balance, and to keep his office out of the hands of 
factionalists. Even when Edgar Sisson proposed the advan- 
tage of endorsing the British labor group which, at least to- 
day, seems closest of all to Wilson's (and Creel's) political 
philosophy, the chairman of the CPI wrote: 

"We must stand fast at all times against imperialism and 
jingoism, but such a course does not compel us in any degree 
to veer sharply over to such groups as this headed by Hender- 
son. As completely as possible I want to avoid any effect of 
intrusion in class quarrels; just as I did not think it wise for 
us to indorse the right wing of the labor movement in Great 
Britain, just so did I think it unwise to be put in the attitude 
of incurring favor with the left wing. We have our own aims 
to present and this is task enough/' 

At home he resisted time and again the effort to make 
"patriotism" serve selfish ends in dealing with labor. For in- 
stance, when F. B. Johnstone, secretary of the Chicago Union 
League Club, called his attention to a poster entitled "What 
Doth It Profit a Man," Creel said he thought it did more 
harm than good, and that labor was "deeply resentful of the 
continued emphasis on the responsibilities of labor while never 
a word is said concerning the employer. This poster gives 
the idea that the working man should not concern himself 
about his wages, about his working conditions, or about his 
rights, but should toil steadily from early until late with no 
other thought than the National Service." 

Again, he wrote to the National Americanization Commit- 
tee on January 14, 1918: "The government is doing every- 
thing in its power to prevent strikes, but it avoids very care- 


fully any suggestion that it denies the right of labor to protest 
against conditions/' 

Still another example is found in his approval in every par- 
ticular of a letter from Professor S. H. Clark of the University 
of Chicago, who wrote: "My two sons in France get $33 apiece 
per month: Why should Stone, and Armour, and Vanderlip 
et al be paid more? . . . Unless we conscript wealth to the 
justifiable limit, all appeals whether by the Four-Minute Men 
or a letter from the President, to save, to give blood or money, 
to compose differences, to subscribe for bonds, to stand behind 
the President all appeals will fall eventually on deaf ears: and 
we shall have a sullen, scowling, half-hearted cooperation, in- 
stead of a wholehearted, inspiring to-the-last-ditch, united 
democracy/ 7 

Three days later Creel wrote Mrs. Alice Kimball Godfrey 
of Kansas City: "The most important task we have before us 
today in the fight for unity is that of convincing the great mass 
of workers that our interest in democracy and justice begins 
at home/' 

But the most forthright statement of Creel's views on this 
subject was given to F. L. Collins, president of McClure Pub- 
lications and editor of McCIure's Magazine. Mr. Collins had 
sent the cartoon from the Indianapolis News which is repro- 
duced on the next page. He asked Mr. Creel: "Do you want 
us to build up a sentiment for the conscription of labor or do 
you want to prevent the necessity of conscripting labor by 
giving wide circulation to such sentiments as are in the en- 
closed cartoon? . . . Tell all the rest of us how to act. It will not 
be an impossible task to make every industrial slacker in the 
United States ashamed to be seen in the company of his own 
dinner pail/' 

And George Creel replied: 

"I have reason to know that the workers of the United States 
are bitterly resentful of this sort of thing. They feel that if 
they are to surrender their demands in the matter of hours and 
overtime, that employers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retail- 
ers, and others, should make like concessions in the matter of 


Among the Fellows Working and Fighting for Ui 

There's No Question of Hours and Overtime 

From The Indianapolis New 
The Cartoon that Aroused Creel's Anger 

profits. The fact that there are so many employers who put 
greed before patriotism makes it very difficult to level any 
blanket attack against workers, who are likewise guilty of 
thinking of themselves before their country. This Committee 
cannot take part in the industrial dispute. If I were asked to 
suggest a policy for an editor, however, I would say that the 
fight should be made against both kinds of 'slacker/ so that 
the class line would be wiped out entirely, and suspicion re- 
moved that one side or the other was attempting to use a 
national emergency for its own selfish purpose." 


Chapter 9 

HYPHENATED AMERICANISM" was one of the most 
familiar phrases of the war years, and, even when 
stripped of its emotional connotation, represented 
a vital problem in the mobilization of American manpower 
and resources for the prosecution of the war. More than 14,- 
500,000 residents of the country in 1917 had been born in 
foreign countries, and many others were but one generation 
removed from the status of immigrants. Foreign groups lived a 
life that was in many respects apart from that of the country 
as a whole they held to their national customs, they spoke 
in a foreign tongue, they had their own churches (in many 
of which English was never spoken) , and they had their own 
newspapers. The problem was to enlist the help of all these 
people in the common enterprise. 

Large as this task was, it seemed even more forbidding to 
many people in 1917, because the most important group was 
that of the German-Americans whose homeland was the very 
country they were being asked to oppose. Further, Americans 
were reminded daily of the machinations of German agents on 
our soil before the war, and it was widely believed that the 
German-American Alliance had established a tight network of 
propaganda agents who had not only invaded centers of Ger- 
man population but also poisoned schools and colleges and 
the press. German interest in the brewing industry also served, 
with the growing number of temperance advocates, to rein- 
force the general wartime hatred of anything connected with 
the name of Germany. 

Even American citizenship was held to be no proof of loy- 
alty. As Senator William H. King wrote to Creel on March 

25, 1918: "There is a feeling throughout the country that 
there are some Prussian spies in this country who have their 
citizenship papers and who should be loyal Americans. I 
know, myself, that there are some disloyalists among our alien 
population and among those who have sworn allegiance to the 

Drastic measures were proposed by L. B. Foley of the Mer- 
ritt and Chapman Derrick Company, New York, in a letter 
to Creel: "When our government shall have shot or hung 
the men who are spreading anti-American propaganda, the 
way will be cleared for more immigrants to become citizens 
of our country. The writer is convinced that the apathy and 
dilatory methods of our government, in regard to traitorous 
enemies within our midst, are responsible for much of the 
hard work in connection with Americanizing foreigners who 
come to our shores." 

The Treasury Department received a suggestion that every 
bank containing the words "German-American" in its title 
should change its name, and many people proposed the elimi- 
nation of German-language study from public schools, al- 
though in the latter case we have evidence that President 
Wilson, George Creel, and a number of other influential 
Americans thought the suggestion childish. The President had 
tried to distinguish between the people and the government 
of Germany, but not all of his fellow citizens not even all 
members of the CPI really believed in this dichotomy. Many 
people thought the Germans had a government no better than 
they deserved. 

The hatred of Germans in this country was generally en- 
larged to include hatred, or at least suspicion, of all foreigners. 
This naturally had a reaction on the foreigners themselves. 

Some observers thought the country was suffering during 
the war for the decades of negligence during which we had 
refused to treat the process of assimilation as a national prob- 
lem. Raymond B. Price expressed this thought in the pam- 
phlet, Washington's Nine Months at War: 

"And what of the poor, bewildered alien himself? With no 
place to go for general and authoritative information, exposed 
to the machinations of spy and agitator, of profiteer and cor- 
ruptionist ought we not commend those great millions for 
their steadiness of purpose and action, their loyalty and de- 
cency under trying conditions?" 

The problem was expressed simply, on the very day this 
country declared war when Judge Joseph Buffington addressed 
applicants for naturalization in Philadelphia: "Today there 
are fourteen and a half million men in America of foreign 
birth; fourteen million children of those of foreign birth. ... I 
. . . have always said that when war faced us these foreign-born 
men would prove themselves Americans. The crux is not the 
fact of the hyphen, but whether the man's heart is at the 
American end of the hyphen/' 

One thing was clear to the CPI: it could never perform 
effectively its assigned task of holding fast the inner lines until 
it had found a way of dealing with foreign elements in our 
population. Two methods were available: an attempt to force 
these groups into submission to the national will, or an at- 
tempt to explain America's war aims and make these disparate 
groups actively want to help. In this case, as in so many others 
reported in this book, Mr. Creel chose the course of affirma- 
tive action, although in a small number of instances he was 
forced to invoke the government's legal powers under the 
Espionage Act and the Trading-with-the-Enemy Act. 

Under the latter statute the government issued licenses for 
foreign-language newspapers. As W. H. Lamar, solicitor of 
the Post Office Department, wrote to Julius Koettgen on 
January 29, 1918: "The German-language papers in this coun- 
try were found after a careful survey to occupy a very peculiar 
position, practically all of them had been sympathetic with 
Germany before this country entered the war. Many of them, 
later, while declaring their loyalty to this country, continued 
to publish matter which not only showed sympathy with Ger- 
many, but intense hostility to the Allies. . . . Many of the 

German-language publishers have, from time to time, been 
brought to realize what their duty to their adopted country 
means now. . . . Such representations have been made to 
the department which has enabled us to grant quite a number 
of permits to these papers and I think many others still will 
ultimately be able to hold permits." 

But in general the CPI placed its main reliance on educa- 
tion. This was done in three ways which helped support each 
other through a program of translated CPI pamphlets so 
that each alien, whether or not able to read English, would 
know the objects of democracy, freedom, and peace which 
President Wilson was seeking; through the work of the CPI 
in supplying a flood of "wholesome" news for the foreign- 
language press of the country; and through encouragement of 
societies of German-Americans, Hungarian-Americans, and 
so on, which sprang up all over the country with a "spon- 
taneity" which does not seem so remarkable after examination 
of the CPI files as it may have appeared to the humble for- 
eigner in 1917. 

The need for all this work was clearly great. When, on 
February 6, 1918, George Creel sent a letter to the mayor 
of every city asking for a list of organizations doing American- 
ization work, the results were disquieting. Replies showed that 
few towns had records to be proud of. Although thirty-two 
different groups tried to help the foreign born in one way or 
another, there was no comprehensive or unified plan. The for- 
eigner still looked most naturally to his own lodges, his own 
aid societies, and his own religious organizations. 

Even before this survey, however, the CPI recognized the 
problem of the foreign born. Eventually the work was care- 
fully organized through a regular CPI division, as will be ex- 
plained later, but to begin with the effort was directed chiefly 
through the various national groups. 

The Germans were the first to receive attention, and by 
October 1917 at least a beginning had been made toward 
organizing them into a patriotic group. The organization was 
originally known as the American Friends of the German 

Republic, but the name was soon changed to Friends of Ger- 
man Democracy. Professor Otto Heller, Jacob Schiff, and 
others felt that the prestige of nationally known names should 
be added, and that membership qualifications should be 
broadened to include every American who wanted to join, 
not merely the members of old German families. The changes 
were made, and the following became the national executive 
committee of the reorganized body: Abraham Jacobi, honor- 
ary president; Franz Sigel, president; Frederick L. Hoffman, 
vice-president; Charles }. Schlegel, treasurer; Frank Bohn, 
secretary; and Julius Koettgen, assistant secretary. 

Frank Bohn, the secretary, devoted most of his energy to 
undercover work in Europe, and the key man in the organiza- 
tion in the United States, in fact the active organizer and 
fund-raiser, was Julius Koettgen. Although a British citizen 
and working in an American cause, he was classed as an enemy 
alien because he had been born in Germany. A book which 
he had translated was on the War Department "Index Ex- 
purgatorius," and he was informed by the Department of 
Justice: "While the department appreciates your position, 
you will be required to register. The registration, however, 
should not be taken as a reflection upon your good intentions 
or your loyalty to the United States/' 

Koettgen was in constant communication with Creel, and 
though the Friends of German Democracy was organized in 
the first place by private citizens and remained technically 
independent, actually it was little more than camouflage for 
the CPI. Koettgen had the official title of director of the 
German Bureau in the CPI Division of Work with the For- 
eign Born. 

Financial support for the organization cannot be fully 
traced, but on February 24, 1918, Koettgen wrote Creel that 
he had $1,000 contributions from both Jacob Schiff and Otto 
H. Kahn. This latter donation is especially interesting because 
German propagandists frequently tried to discredit the society 
by saying that it was subsidized by millionaires, and specifi- 
cally by Kahn. The charge was made especially in connection 

with the financial contributions which the Friends of German 
Democracy made to the Berne newspaper Die Freie Zeitung, 
which was attempting to foment social revolution within Ger- 
many. An American scholar, Dr. George G. Bruntz, reports 
that Mr. Kahn consistently denied any connection with Die 
Freie Zeitung and, shortly before his death, wrote Dr. Bruntz 
once more that he had never contributed to the Friends of 
German Democracy. 

On December 8, 1917, the Friends of German Democracy 
issued a manifesto to Germans throughout the world announc- 
ing the society's purpose to assist in a vigorous prosecution of 
the war and "to unify the people of America in the common 
cause as well as to arouse the people of Germany to a sense 
of their duty and their opportunity." 

It was evident, however, that the Friends of German De- 
mocracy would have the opposition of the older German- 
American Alliance, and Koettgen wrote Creel on February 
24, 1918: "Our movement will have to fight the German- 
American Alliance; we should have started that fight long ago 
if the leaders of that reactionary gang could be enticed out 
of their holes/' 

Creel himself had foreseen this, for he had written to Attor- 
ney General Gregory four days earlier: "The attack on it has 
been made by German-Americans who wanted to use it as a 
sort of loyalty badge without going on record for the United 
States and against Germany." 

A less serious obstacle was encountered among the German 
friendly societies which declared they had not engaged in anti- 
American activities but had merely attempted to preserve Ger- 
man national customs. One such group was the Sons of Her- 
man, and in response to a suggestion from Koettgen, Carl 
Byoir of the CPI wrote to the president and secretary of the 
society that it "might be advantageous for all concerned if 
the officers and members of your organization would work 
out a plan of cooperation with the American Friends of Ger- 
man Democracy." Within three weeks Koettgen informed 
Byoir that Richard Schaefer of the Sons of Herman had called 


upon him and had promised full cooperation with the CPI. 
In addition a plan was to be adopted that would provide for 
the gradual substitution of English for German. 

One of the great events in the life of the Friends of German 
Democracy was a mass meeting in Grand Central Palace, New 
York, on February 16, 1918. The press gave it generous pub- 
licity, and William Sleicher, brother of the editor of Leslie's, 
put up $500 to cover costs of the meeting. 

A loyalty resolution adopted at that meeting was sent to 
every German-American society in the United States and to 
German social-democrats in Switzerland and other neutral 
countries. With other meetings already held or planned, from 
Missouri to Brooklyn, with a bulletin being sent to the Ger- 
man-American papers, with promises of clippings from the 
press of the German Empire, and with persons of the caliber 
of James M. Beck, George Haven Putnam, and David Starr 
Jordan joining the society, Koettgen thought the battle half 

In the final report of the CPI German Bureau, however, it 
was granted that although the diffusion of printed matter had 
been wide, membership was never large. Koettgen believed 
that was because people of German birth were too frightened to 
identify themselves with a society containing the hated word in 
its title, and because excitable Americans of other stock were 
inclined to criticize everything named "German," whatever 
its patriotic object might be. As will be seen later, however, 
whatever lack of success the Friends of German Democracy 
may have had at home was made up by its important contribu- 
tions to CPI work abroad, where its finances and its moral 
support helped bring about the dissolution of the German 

But the Germans represented only one of the twenty-three 
foreign groups which the CPI attempted to organize along 
patriotic lines. Additional field workers were engaged for sev- 
eral of these nationalities and the Division of Work with the 
Foreign Born (as it was ultimately called) came to hold an 
extremely important place in the CPI structure. In the be- 

ginning Creel himself was director of the CPI Foreign Sec- 
tion, which also encompassed the work with foreigners in this 
country. Later the Foreign Section was headed by Arthur 
Woods, Will Irwin, Edgar Sisson, and finally H. N. Rickey. 

The Division of Work with the Foreign Born was headed 
by Josephine Roche, active then as now in a wide variety of 
welfare undertakings and later famous as one of the most dis- 
tinguished women in American public life Assistant Secretary 
of the Treasury, chairman of the executive committee of the 
National Youth Administration, and president of the Rocky 
Mountain Fuel Company. 

The bureau chiefs at the end of the war were: Scandinavian, 
Edwin Bjorkman; German, Julius Koettgen; Hungarian, Al- 
fred Markus (successor to Alexander Konta when the latter 
withdrew following a difference with the CPI over the amount 
of money to be spent on advertising) ; Italian, Albert Bonaschi; 
Lithuanian, Julius B. Kaupas; Polish, Ludwik Kradyna; 
Czechoslovak, Anna Tvricka; Yugoslav, Peter Mladineo. 

For each nationality, the CPI attempted to provide speak- 
ers, press news, many miscellaneous services, and translations 
of the CPFs own patriotic pamphlets. Certain titles in the 
pamphlet series were issued in German, Italian, Polish, Hun- 
garian, Croatian, Bohemian, Yiddish, Swedish, and Spanish. 

Pomoz Im 







' ' 






I nMfl* 


if !M 1 

s;33 s 4!i ii 

Amerika szabadsaga 
a mi szabadsagunk. 

Vedeknezzilt meg hates 


''Hyphenated Americans" Are Asked to Buy 
Special Appeals to the Poles, the Chinese, and the Hungarians 


Liberty Loan and other patriotic advertising was printed in all 
of these languages and some others, including Chinese. 

Translation difficulties were numerous. Edwin Bjorkman 
of the CPI Scandinavian Bureau wrote Creel that circulation 
in Sweden of Hur Kriget Kom Till America (How the War 
Came to America) would be dangerous, and that its ridiculous 
mistakes, principally caused by "dictionary translations/' and 
its general unintelligibility would be seized upon by German 
propagandists. Bjorkman said: "A retranslation of the Com- 
mittee title into English would be something like 'Committee 
to Public Narration/ The rendering of the three Cabinet titles 
is worthy of Hashimura Togo at his best/' Ignace Paderewski 
was quoted in the Philadelphia Public Ledger as believing 
that certain Polish translations of President Wilson's speeches 
had been done by pro-Germans. And in connection with the 
CPI's Sisson Documents, described in Chapter XIV, a schol- 
arly board of inquiry said that bad translating "had laid bare 
the documents at certain points ... to suspicions which the 
originals of those passages nowise warrant/' 

These and many other translation difficulties, however, were 
among the perils of war. It was generally recognized that pub- 
lication in a man's native tongue gave the surest route to his 
heart, especially when the publication told him that he could 
be loyal to "the true Germany," "the best interests of the 
Hungarian people," and so on only by unswerving support of 
President Wilson and the American cause. 

An attempt was made to reach each of these groups, not 
merely with pro-American propaganda but with a message 
showing Wilson's special interest in the particular homeland 
from which the people came. After the Germans the most im- 
portant groups were those of "subject peoples" in Austria- 
Hungary especially Hungarians and Yugoslavs. These people 
were enemy aliens, but their traditions or hopes of nationalism 
and their list of grievances against Austria and the Hapsburgs 
might be used to hasten the dismemberment of the Dual 


Frank Cobb, editor of the New York World, had been so 
interested in the Hungarian-American problem that he had 
written directly to President Wilson, who had referred the 
matter to Creel. The man selected to carry on the work among 
Hungarian-Americans was Alexander Konta, a New York 
banker and broker who had been born in Budapest but had 
married into the family of William J. Lemp, St. Louis brewer, 
and had become an American citizen. 

According to A. B. Bielaski of the Department of Justice, 
before the war Konta had been in close touch with agents of 
countries which later became our enemies, but Cobb of the 
World scoffed at this in a letter to Creel on March 27, 1918. 

"The government is not going to get anywhere, dealing 
with this Hungarian element, if it tries to club off everybody 
who has influence with them. I know something of the kind of 
work Konta is doing and it's mighty good work. There is a 
campaign going on against Konta. Some of it originates from 
Bohemian and Yugoslav sources due to the inveterate enmity 
toward the Hungarians. ... But, from my own personal ex- 
perience, I have never known Konta to do or say anything 
that did not measure up one hundred per cent loyalty to the 
United States." The previous day Cobb had written Creel, 
"The first information I ever had that the Austrian diplomatic 
crowd were playing a crooked game in the United States came 
from him [Konta]/' Creel appears to have accepted Cobb's 
view, for at the end of January he wrote to Bielaski, and some- 
what later to Konta himself, that Konta was officially desig- 
nated to organize the Hungarians of the country. The news 
must have been welcome to Konta, for he had been working 
for some time on the basis of an informal understanding with 
Creel, and on December 31 he had displayed his impatience: 

"We should start at once to combat the activities of those 
paid agents of the Austro-Hungarian consulate who, during 
the past two years, have been laying their plans to create rest- 
lessness among the Hungarians in American industries and a 
desire in the workers to return to their native country when 
the war ends." 

Even before Creel had informed the Department of Justice 
of his decision, Konta had organized the American-Hungarian 
Loyalty League, which came into being in the first week of 
January 1918. Creel suggested its name, and Konta was desig- 
nated chairman or director of the society. One of the earliest 
aims of the League was to get the Hungarians publicly to 
express their loyalty. A second purpose was to offer to the em- 
ployers of Hungarian labor, literature, speakers, and carefully 
selected propagandists. The object of the society, Creel told 
Konta, was to make the Hungarian population as much a 
part of the great democratic movement as if they had been 
"of this soil with a century of traditions behind them/' 

Konta attacked his assignment with great vigor, and on 
March 28, 1918, he wrote Creel that the organization had 
dues paid by 2,700 members, with 7,000 more signed up. The 
number continued to grow and in September 1918 a drive was 
undertaken to enroll 100,000 members. 

Unlike some of the language groups which felt that the CPI 
connection should not be revealed, the American-Hungarian 
Loyalty League welcomed public knowledge of its auspices. 
Konta wrote: 

"There is nothing that appeals so much to the Hungarian 
population as authoritativeness. All loyal Hungarians in the 
United States will give welcome to a League, which, in its 
promises to protect Hungarians against unjust suspicions of 
disloyalty, has behind it the approval and support of the gov- 

There was a limit, however, to the financial support which 
the CPI could give to the new organization, and the files re- 
veal an inter-CPI memorandum from Carl Byoir to Arthur 
Woods advising that the League should stop opening new of- 
fices in various cities because Creel had offered to support only 
the central headquarters in New York. 

As in the case of all the foreign groups, the public meeting 
was one of the most important devices used, and the CPI files 
preserve the program of one gathering sponsored by the Amer- 

lean-Hungarian Loyalty League in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 
on March 10, 1918: 

"Star-Spangled Banner" First Reformed Church Choir 

Opening Address Chairman 

Address Alexander Konta, President of the American-Hun- 
garian Loyalty League 

Address Hon. C. B. Wilson, Lieutenant Governor of Con- 
necticut and Mayor of Bridgeport 

National Song Recited in English and Hungarian 

Address Postmaster of Bridgeport 

Address Pastor of the First Reformed Church 

Patriotic Song Workmen's Male Quartette 

Address by an Attorney-at-Law 

Address Pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Catholic Church 

American War Songs 

Resolutions Pastor, Roman Catholic Church, in English and 

Closing Address Vice-Chairman 


Eight addresses in one meeting must have been sufficient 
to test the patriotism of native or alien. 

Occasionally Konta's League encountered difficulties with 
national groups already formed. Thus in March 1918, Harold 
L. Ickes of the Illinois State Council of Defense wrote to 
Creel in complaint. It seemed that several months prior to 
March 1918, Ickes's committee had authorized an organiza- 
tion of the Hungarians in Chicago as the New Freedom So- 
ciety of America. Splendid progress was being made until 
Konta arrived to disband it and enroll its members in his so- 
ciety, saying that he represented Creel. Ickes expressed doubt 
at that, for, he wrote, "I have known how anxious you have 
been not to interfere with organizations already perfected, 
or under way, under the direction of the various State Coun- 
cils/' This was directly in line with the statement made by the 
chairman of the CPI to James M. Curley of Boston. To him 
Creel had written March 8, 1918, that the Committee, at all 
times, worked through the State Councils of Defense as far 
as activities in the various commonwealths were concerned. 

Encouragement of patriotism in Hungarian industrial labor 
was one of the principal objects of the American-Hungarian 
Loyalty League, but at least some of the employers of that 
labor were uncertain of the advantage to be gained. Thus a 
Department of Justice agent reported from Pittsburgh in 
August 1918: 

"The manufacturers seem to have no difficulty in dealing 
with these people at this time, and some have expressed the 
fear, that if they are organized in such a league they will pass 
from the control of the manufacturers into the control of 

But Creel continued to support the League as he had earlier. 
In February, George C. Foote had written him from Port 
Henry, New York, saying that his company had a communi- 
cation from the League asking for cooperation in working 
among its employees. "This League," Mr. Foote wrote, "states 
that it is a branch of your Bureau. We would be pleased to 
receive from you information regarding the same and its ob- 
jects." Creel replied: 

"The Hungarian Loyalty League is an organization in which 
this Committee is vitally interested. What we are trying to do 
is to form these people into a patriotic body so that we can 
reach them with literature, with speakers, with motion pic- 
tures, and in every other way try to bring them into closer 
touch with America. Anything that you may do for Mr. Konta 
will be appreciated." 

While the CPI was lending its aid to the organization of 
the enemy-alien groups, Hungarian and German, similar at- 
tention was given to the less difficult task of ensuring the loy- 
alty of Americans born in neutral or Allied countries. Societies 
were formed, news bulletins prepared, speakers, films, and 
publications furnished. Usually there was a close liaison with 
the CPI office, and always Creel and his staff were prepared 
to render every feasible aid to the field workers. 

The most energetic and thoroughly organized group of neu- 
trals consisted of people from the Scandinavian countries. 


Great use was made of societies already existing or newly 
formed for the occasion for instance the Sons of Norway, 
the John Ericsson League of Patriotic Service (Swedish) , and 
the Jacob Riis League of Patriotic Service (Danish) , the two 
latter directly sponsored by the CPI. 

The great driving force for work among the Scandinavians 
was Edwin Bjorkman, who wrote Creel in November 1917 
that he had just returned from Sweden where for two years 
he had been in full charge of all forms of British propaganda. 
His first object in the United States was to secure the loyalty 
of the Swedish-American group, but the work expanded rap- 
idly to include other nationalities as well. November 1918 saw 
the greatest activity of his bureau, with four organizers work- 
ing in the domestic field among Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, 
Finns, and Hollanders. It was considered best that the CPI 
avoid as much as possible showing its hand in this work, but 
both initiative and funds were provided. 

One of the efforts of Bjorkman's group was to foster among 
Scandinavian-Americans the sense of personal stake in the 
war. The leagues of patriotic service helped in this regard by 
serving as a clearing house of communication between Ameri- 
can soldiers and sailors of Scandinavian origin and their home 
folks. But battle news proved more effective than anything 

Writing from Minneapolis, during an organization trip, 
Bjorkman stated that there had been a marked change of 
sentiment among the Swedes in the Northwest recently. Ger- 
man activities in Russia and Finland seemed chiefly respon- 
sible. "News of the killing and wounding of Minnesota and 
Iowa boys at the front has helped too. Noted pacifists and 
pro-Germans are coming around in great shape." 

Diplomacy was frequently needed in dealing with foreign 
groups. For instance, the immigrants from Alsace-Lorraine ob- 
jected to being classed as alien enemies. Charles Blumenthal, 
of the World League for the Restitution of Alsace-Lorraine, 
commenting upon the Attorney General's ruling, stated that 
it had led to loss of jobs by Alsatians. In explanation, Attorney 

General Gregory sent Creel a photostat of his letter to the 
French Ambassador: 

"As I understand the situation, a non-official committee of 
French people in New York City, acting with the sanction of 
the French Embassy, makes inquiry into the antecedents of 
Alsatians resident in the United States and if satisfied of their 
loyalty to France, issues a document certifying in each in- 
dividual case that the person is entitled to the protection of 
France, this being accompanied by a photograph and descrip- 
tion of the individual. I am informed that the organization 
in New York City and the French Embassy ask that persons 

on jBbllr fateMHw" 

tVr 2taat#ufrrtdr 
IVr firirfttftfrrtar 
iVr roarlnrf 

Germans Learn How the War Came to America 


holding these certificates be not designated or treated as alien 

Perhaps the outstanding event in all the work among the 
foreign born under Miss Roche was the series of patriotic ral- 
lies held by forty-four organizations, representing twenty- 
nine nationalities, on July 4, 1918. Slavs, Teutons, Scandi- 
navians, and so on each held an Independence Day meeting, 
and at least partial indication of the success of the occasion is 
found in the report that 750,000 Americans of Scandinavian 
blood participated. 

An interesting phase of the CPI work with all foreign groups 
was the effort, seemingly contradictory to the function of a 
government propaganda agency, to secure news from the 
homeland for the foreign-language press even the enemy- 
language press in this country. 

Koettgen of the Friends of German Democracy early saw 
the advantage of this policy. He wrote to the CPI in December 
1917 requesting items in papers from Bavaria, the Palatinate, 
Baden and East Prussia, because the most clannish people 
came from those regions, and they were "perhaps more in- 
terested in German events than those coming from other 
parts. . . . Local, sentimental and humorous matter, murders, 
accidents, etc., should be well represented/' William Church- 
ill, director of the Division of Foreign Language Newspapers, 
told Creel: 

"For three years the German-American papers have been 
cut off from their foreign exchanges, always the most impor- 
tant part of the papers. If we undertook to let them have this 
look-in they will feed out of our hands on all the propaganda 
that we supply." 

At the end of February 1918 Koettgen was able to promise 
clippings from the German Empire to cooperating newspa- 
pers. The American-Hungarian Loyalty League established 
a regular news service furnishing daily and weekly items from 
the press of the homeland. General news was interspersed with 
information of American propaganda value, for example: the 


big losses of the Austro-Hungarian army; the ill-treatment of 
Hungarian soldiers by Austrian generals; the hopeless eco- 
nomic conditions in the Dual Monarchy; the pitiful condition 
of the people at large. 

A few months later, however, the CPI found it advisable to 
cut down on items from the German press, because the Ger- 
man censorship was effectively concealing the signs of unrest 
and despair which it had been hoped the clippings would indi- 
cate. But in greater or less degree the maintenance of a foreign 
news service was an essential part of the CPI strategy to the 
end of the war. 

The whole subject of securing news from abroad for the 
foreign-language press of this country is intimately connected 
with another great phase of CPI activity the work of the 
Committee in the foreign countries themselves. An indication 
of the scope and nature of the latter undertaking will be given 
in following chapters, but it should be noted here that the 
help of foreign-born Americans was an integral part of the 

It was of critical importance, of course, that the right per- 
sonnel should be selected for the work. In December 1917 
Harold Ickes was noticing the great number of Russians who 
had returned to their native land from the United States, 
many of them not too well disposed toward us and the Amer- 
ican government. As a result a great deal of damage had been 
done to our cause, in the opinion of Mr. Ickes. This same 
thought came from William M. Leiserson of Toledo Univer- 
sity, who urged that Russians of long residence in the United 
States be sent back as emissaries. 

Later, in November 1918, we find record of a body of Yugo- 
slavs whom their associates in the United States wished to 
send back to their home country to carry the message of 
America. Creel assured William Phillips of the State Depart- 
ment that they were patriotic and trustworthy. Meanwhile 
Bjorkman's bureau was maintaining two representatives in the 
Scandinavian countries, and the foreign and domestic services 
were being overlapped. 

Encouragement of civil discontent and the advancement of 
separatist movements in enemy lands formed part of the CPI 
effort abroad, and Americanized foreign groups here were able 
to give important assistance, through resolutions of support, 
through secret agents abroad, and through financial help. 
Koettgen of the Friends of German Democracy wrote to Pro- 
fessor Otto Heller on October 9, 1917, that his group "has 
established relations with a group of exiled German democrats 
in Switzerland, who under very trying and difficult conditions 
are attempting to carry the message of democracy into Ger- 
many, and who are looking upon the elements of German 
birth and descent in the United States as their natural sup- 
port/' Frank Bohn, secretary of the Friends of German 
Democracy and in later years a lecturer at the University of 
Southern California, was a leader in this work. When peace 
came, Koettgen reported that everything possible had been 
done to support President Wilson in his effort to drive a wedge 
between the imperial German government and the German 

The doctrine of self-determination, as one of President Wil- 
son's war aims, bulked large in the campaign among the for- 
eign-born in this country, and workers here helped to dissemi- 
nate the message in the homeland. This is well illustrated in 
the case of the Hungarian group. Konta wrote to Creel with 
respect to a forthcoming convention in Cleveland: 

"Specifically, the point is whether the attempt to break up 
Austria-Hungary, which, from current published newspaper 
reports, is now beginning abroad, shall be supported at this 
meeting in Cleveland. In other words, shall an American move- 
ment in support of an independent Hungary be initiated here, 
and expedited to the limit at next Sunday's gathering. There 
can be no doubt that the people there will be ready for it- 
will support it enthusiastically but will it be prudent?" Creel 
telegraphed him: "Follow your own judgment and go the 
limit. You are best judge and have my entire confidence." 

And when the convention was held on January 27, the 
resolutions were adopted and Creel had them cabled to Rus- 


sia for clandestine introduction into Hungary. Even more di- 
rect contact might be established, Konta thought, and he 
wrote Creel on July 31, 1918: 

"I have thought, and still think, that the change of attitude 
which has been taking place in the Hungarian mind in Amer- 
ica, is gradually bringing about a change of attitude in the 
Hungarian mind at home regarding Austria and her German 
ally. By seizing the occasion opportunely, and by broadening 
the scope of our organization, it should not be impossible for 
this League working in connection with the leaders of the 
Independent Party in Hungary, to deliver a very powerful 
stroke towards the complete dismemberment of the Dual 

Similar help was given to many Teutonic and Slavic groups, 
which were urged to compose their minor differences and unite 
on the one important issue of freedom from oppression. The 
contributions of American residents toward the creation of 
Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic States constitute 
whole chapters in wartime history which cannot be examined 
here in detail. As one example, it will be recalled that Presi- 
dent Wilson's support of Thomas Masaryk, then in Washing- 
ton, was crucial in the founding of the Czechoslovak Re- 

When the Armistice came and the CPI prepared for its 
part in the Peace Conference (and both the joys and sorrows 
which it brought to foreign groups in this country) , addi- 
tional emissaries were sent from the United States to their 
homelands to help spread worldwide knowledge of America's 
program of reconstruction. But it was with evident regret that 
Creel saw cessation of the work. He wrote to Koettgen on 
March 19, 1919, six weeks before final dissolution of the For- 
eign Section of the CPI: 

"Much remains to be done. There is still a fight to be made 
against the tendency toward segregation, in the defense of 
American ideals and institutions, and to bring the mass of peo- 
ple of German descent closer to their American neighbors and 

fellow citizens." Creel would have been glad to know that, 
for five years after the Armistice, Josephine Roche was to be 
director of the Foreign Language Information Service, and 
that this would be only one expression of the great new interest 
in "Americanization" developed under the CPI during the 

Part III 

Chapter 10 

GEORGE CREEL'S first job was to win the battle of the 
inner lines. Incidents in that triumphant campaign 
have been described in preceding chapters, and it is 
that work for which the CPI is best known with reason. If 
the Wilsonian doctrine had not won at home, Marshal Foch 
might conceivably have lost in France or at least would have 
confronted a situation vastly different from that which he saw 
when the German envoys, under a flag of truce, pushed 
through the forest of Compiegne to learn the Armistice terms 
of the Allies. 

The battle at home was the crucial battle for the CPI to 

But mobilization of public opinion in this country was but 
part of the great undertaking. When George Creel said he was 
engaged upon a "fight for the mind of mankind/' he was not 
merely boasting. The CPI extended its work of education, its 
propaganda for the Wilsonian world program, straight around 
the globe. In little more than a year Creel and his associates 
notably Arthur Woods, Will Irwin, Edgar Sisson, and H. N. 
Rickey, successive directors of the CPI Foreign Section built 
up a worldwide system of foreign agents and kept them sup- 
plied with a steady stream of American news and other Ameri- 
can propaganda. By the time of the Armistice, the name of 
Woodrow Wilson, and a general idea that he was a friend of 
peace, liberty, and democracy, were nearly as familiar in some 
of the remote places of the earth as they were in New York, 
St. Louis, or San Francisco. 

The adulation that the President received en route to the 
Peace Conference was at least in part a tribute to the thor- 


oughness with which the CPI Foreign Section had done its 

George Creel's letter to the authors, quoted in Chapter I, 
suggests that he had the foreign program in mind from the 
very beginning, but there is no indication that the President 
or his Cabinet conceived, except vaguely, of the work in other 
lands at the time the CPI was established. One reason for 
this, no doubt, was the popular fear of the word "propaganda/' 
and its association in the minds of most people with the Ger- 
man secret agents and saboteurs who were providing daily copy 
for the newspapers. Gradually, however, it became clear that at 
least "information" must be sent to other countries, and by 
the early fall of 1917 serious plans for a comprehensive pro- 
gram were made. 

Many members of the CPI recognized that "propaganda" is 
not a term of opprobrium, and although all of them believed 
that the American propaganda was more truthful than that 
of other countries and consecrated to a higher cause, the word 
was used without value-judgment in much of the correspon- 
dence. In public statements, especially for consumption in 
neutral countries, it was frequently necessary to deny the in- 
tention of propagandizing sometimes even to deny all con- 
nection with the CPI. 

By whatever name it was called, this activity took various 
forms according to the needs in particular countries. In the 
work directed against Germany and Austria-Hungary, the 
object was to encourage separatist movements and to destroy 
civilian morale, "to break the war-will" as the Germans them- 
selves would have put it; if this could be accomplished, the 
contribution to the winning of the war would be almost as 
direct as Pershing's. In other countries, Spain being an obvi- 
ous example, the object was to urge that neutral country into 
belligerence on the side of the Allies, or at least to prevent 
alliance with the Central Powers. And in still other countries, 
such as England and France, the object was almost entirely 
political to win support, over the heads of the government if 


need be, for the Wilsonian program of peace and reconstruc- 

Commercial overtones and other irrelevancies to the central 
problem were not lacking in all of this, but the main object 
was to convince all the world that hope for the future lay in 
Wilson alone. 

In this work of foreign propaganda, as in the domestic pro- 
gram of censorship and counter-espionage, the CPI was in the 
closest relationship to the intelligence branches of the army 
and navy. Because the war was predominantly a struggle on 
land, Military Intelligence was by far the more important of 
the two service groups with which the CPI worked. By the 
end of the war an interesting division of labor had been worked 
out, whereby the CPI had actual administration of propaganda 
into Allied and neutral countries, while the Military Intelli- 
gence Branch had executive charge for enemy countries. But 
in each case the non-executive agency had responsibility to 
help provide the information on which all propaganda must be 
based, and to offer suggestions. 

At many of our diplomatic posts the military or naval at- 
tache served as CPI representative during emergency periods, 
and in some other cases the CPI men did work which normally 
would have fallen to the lot of Military Intelligence. Also, it 
was occasionally charged by the diplomatic corps that the CPI 
was attempting to usurp State Department functions. Some 
indications of this inter-service cooperation and misunder- 
standingwill be noted in later chapters. 

The very beginning of America's foreign propaganda cam- 
paign may be said to date from long before 1917. President 
Wilson had a good world press almost from the outbreak of 
war in 1914; foreign papers might twist his thoughts, but at 
least they knew who he was and that he was a symbol of an 
important force in the world. After we had entered the war, 
and before the CPI was making a formal effort at work abroad, 
the Committee's pamphlets found their way into other coun- 
tries through our diplomatic representatives, and quotations 
from them were filed by the regular news services. It was not 


until the end of 1917, however, that the CPI Foreign Sec- 
tion commenced work in earnest. One of the first steps was 
to send agents abroad. 

These foreign representatives were charged with acting as 
jobbers or retailers of the news, feature stories, pamphlets, 
movies, and other propaganda material received from Wash- 
ington. But they interpreted their orders in such a wide variety 
of ways that the record of the CPI Foreign Section shows 
everything from the straight and unimaginative relaying of 
the material to an espionage program in the approved style of 
the cinema tapped wires, midnight meetings, and a general 
effort at political intrigue and melodrama. 

In spite of uniform instructions to all CPI agents that they 
were to spend no money on bribery, subsidizing newspapers, 
or other secret activities, the files show that this rule was not 
strictly enforced. Sometimes Washington merely winked at 
the transgressions, but in a few cases the CPI headquarters 
gave specific permission to break its own rules. In more than 
one case our agents also broke the laws of neutral countries. 

Development of the Foreign Section was about as im- 
promptu as that of the domestic unit of the CPI, but in spite 
of the apparent lack of plan the work followed closely a Mili- 
tary Intelligence report that was not issued until several 
months after the Committee had started work in the foreign 
field. This report, The Psychologic Factor: Its Present Appli- 
cation, published by the General Staff April 19, 1918, recog- 
nized that in the "strategic equation" of war there are four 
factors combat, economic, political, and psychologic and 
that the last of these is coequal with the others. 

Although the Germans had long recognized this, the report 
continued, the Allies and America had been inclined to be- 
little the importance of the psychologic factor, thus making 
the other branches carry an unnecessarily heavy burden. The 
memorandum held that to attack the enemy's political homo- 
geneity and national morale it was necessary first to discover 
his points of political and social weakness. To defend our own 
morale against enemy attacks it was necessary to understand 


our own weak points. In short, both the offensive and defensive 
use of the psychologic factor rested on intelligence of social, 
political, military, and economic conditions in all countries. 
The report concluded that to be effective the psychologic 
effort must be worldwide, continuous, definitely related to 
the combat-strategic needs of the situation, and, in methods, 
adapted to our war aims. 

Military Intelligence, however, did not consider that the 
actual planning of a propaganda campaign lay within its prov- 
ince. Specific methods were not suggested, though media were 
listed, including news, mail service, movies, exhibits, lectures, 
interchange of correspondents, distinguished visitors, airplane 
and balloon leaflets, secret agents, and so on. Examination of 
the CPI files shows that each of the media listed by Military 
Intelligence was at least tried by the Creel Committee, and 
many of them extensively used. 

As far as positive propaganda was concerned, the first and 
most pressing need was to get American material into the 
countries in usable form. Three methods were utilized, repre- 
senting the three main branches of the CPI Foreign Section: 
(i) Wireless-Cable Service; (2) Foreign Press Bureau; (3) 
Foreign Film Division. 

In the matter of news, the basis of all other propaganda, 
usability is directly proportional to freshness as German 
propagandists in this country had found to their sorrow during 
our neutrality: they might have reams of stories by mail, but 
the newspapers were not greatly interested in this German 
material when the British-controlled cables were bringing in 
contradictory stories bearing date lines two or three weeks 
later. The assignment of the Wireless-Cable Service was to 
get the news abroad so quickly that foreign papers would want 
to use it, perhaps to give it a bigger play than later stories 
coming in by the regular news services. 

The Wireless-Cable Service was directed by Walter S. 
Rogers, and the news was prepared by Paul Kennaday. As de- 
scribed in Chapter XV, Edward L. Bernays was placed in 
charge of news for Latin America. 


Until the war the United States was almost alone among 
the great powers in having no means either of spreading propa- 
ganda or of controlling news channels. England through Reu- 
ters and France through Agence Havas had been able to carry 
their story far and wide, and, besides the news service, England 
had developed a worldwide propaganda which excites ad- 
miration to this day. The notorious pre-igiy propaganda ma- 
chine of Germany had been seriously handicapped but by no 
means destroyed by Allied seizure and cutting of cables, and 
the powerful wireless station at Nauen was in constant com- 
munication with German agents in distant countries. 

The United States, too, wanted its story to be told abroad, 
but the cables were congested and, though under friendly 
auspices, were not actually in our own hands. The need was 
for a regular daily news dispatch which would tell all the 
people on earth what President Wilson was saying about the 
war and what the aroused American people were doing to 
win it. 

Help came from the Navy Department which, at President 
Wilson's order, had seized all wireless establishments upon 
the outbreak of war. Arrangement was made for a daily news 
dispatch from the United States station at Tuckerton to the 
French station at Lyons, where, through the cooperation of 
Agence Havas and Agence Radio, it was relayed to Italy, 
Spain, Portugal, Holland, Switzerland, and other nearby 

Next, it was arranged that our naval operators should inter- 
cept the Tuckerton-Lyons dispatch and pass it on to London 
for the British press and eventually for Scandinavia. Other 
links in the globe-girdling news circuit were added from time 
to time, with cable, land-telegraph, and even couriers supple- 
menting the radio where necessary. The wireless system was 
never thoroughly satisfactory, and the CPI Foreign Section 
would have been unable to do its job without the cables. 

Navy wireless operators at San Francisco sent 500 words a 
day to the Pearl Harbor station at Hawaii, and from there it 
went on to the Orient. The message was intercepted at Guam, 

[ 2 4 ] 

and there put on the cable for China, where Carl Crow dis- 
tributed it to some of his four hundred million customers, 
and to Japan, where it was given to the news agencies. Darien, 
Panama, was the distributing point for the Central Amer- 
ican republics, and direct contact was maintained with 
Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and other key cities in 
South America. Mexico had a special 3oo-word dispatch for 
the afternoon papers each day. 

Russia was approached from both the Atlantic and the Pa- 
cific, but as the tide of revolution closed in on the CPI offices, 
communication became more and more difficult. The Tucker- 
ton-Lyons-Moscow route was frequently used, but often the 
CPI agents in Russia were lucky if they were able to get a few 
words of instructions from Washington, let alone news dis- 

Various difficulties were encountered in other countries 
besides Russia not overlooking difficulties raised by our com- 
rades in arms but for a large part of the time official United 
States news was available to many of the most important pa- 
pers in the world, and it was then up to the ingenuity of our 
resident agents to see that it was used. 

Effective as the Wireless-Cable Service proved to be, how- 
ever, it could not begin to carry all the information and propa- 
ganda that America was eager to give the world. Accordingly, 
the Foreign Press Bureau was established in November 1917 
under the direction of the novelist, Ernest Poole, who became 
one of the key figures in the Foreign Section. 

The Foreign Press Bureau prepared and sent abroad by mail 
"short articles, descriptive of our development as a nation; 
our social and industrial progress; our schools, our laws, our 
treatment of workers, women, and children." The articles were 
from 100 to 1,000 words long, and many of them were writ- 
ten by the famous authors already at work with the CPFs 
domestic Division of Syndicate Features. 

A pictorial service was added, utilizing material from the 
domestic Bureau of War Photographs. At the high point, more 
than 1,500 photographs for window display, besides captioned 


photographs, mats, and cuts for newspapers, were sent to 
thirty-five countries each week. Besides this, a total of 60,000 
large "news pictorials" were exported for display in foreign 
shop windows, especially by firms with American connections, 
and 650 foreign agents of American exporters kept their win- 
dows filled with CPI material. 

War posters produced by Mr. Gibson's artists were shipped 
in great quantities, and literally millions of picture postcards 
were likewise sent. For the Orient, special material was pre- 
pared, including window hangers with legends in various lan- 
guages, and display sheets without imprint for Russia, China, 
Japan, Korea, and parts of India. 

The Foreign Press Bureau, as well as the Wireless-Cable 
Service, were attempting to invade a field long since preempted 
by other countries. But in the third foreign unit of the CPI, 
the Foreign Film Division, America had the inside track to 
begin with, for even in that day the movie capital of the world 
was in southern California. American films were known wher- 
ever a projector could be set up. 

With film on the export conservation list toward the end of 
the war, and with the power of censorship granted by the 
Trading-with-the-Enemy Act anyway, the government could 
bring whatever pressure might be necessary to make the movie 
industry serve the cause. As the reader has seen in Chapter VI, 
exporters sent CPI movies with every consignment of commer- 
cial film. George Creel said in his Complete Report: 

"When our propaganda films began to go abroad it was 
found that the Germans had bought up practically all the 
moving-picture houses in some of the neutral countries. They 
were busy with German propaganda films. They would not 
take American war pictures on any terms. It looked like a com- 
plete blockade for the Committee's films, but a way was found 
to submarine it. The heads of the American exporting com- 
panies met with the Committee's officers and agreed that no 
American films should be exported unless a certain amount 
of American propaganda film was included in the order. The 
foreign movie houses could not live without American film. 


The war had reduced the output of the foreign film companies 
to a minimum. The German-owned movie houses had either 
to capitulate or starve to death. Some took one alternative, 
some the other, but practically all gave up the fight/' 

Jules Brulatour and Lieutenant John Tuerk, respectively 
a volunteer from the movie industry and an officer assigned by 
the War Department, handled the control of film export. The 
total that they passed ran to 6,200 reels, and along with it went 
Delco plants, projectors, projection booths, and an endless 
number of other accessories. They went everywhere from up- 
land cities in South America to Archangel, Vladivostok, and 

These three phases of the Foreign Section's work Wire- 
less-Cable Service, Foreign Press Bureau, and Foreign Film 
Division presupposed Committee representatives in the vari- 
ous countries to handle local distribution of the material. 
Such agents were appointed, and they are a famous group. 

Personnel changes were bewildering, and the fact that some 
people were appointed from Washington, some retained by 
field workers, makes it impossible to list the entire staff of 
the Foreign Section. Even payroll records, which solve many 
similar problems for the domestic division, are of only partial 
help here, as several important workers are not listed at all. 
As nearly as can be determined, however, the following were 
the principal figures in the CPI campaign abroad. Diplomatic, 
military, and naval officers are named only in those cases where 
they did actual CPI work, not in the numerous cases in 
which there was cooperation with Committee agents on the 

Propaganda into Enemy Countries James Keeley, Euro- 
pean director; G. H. Edgell, commissioner to the Padua con- 
ference, assisted by Lieutenant Walter F. Wanger, John Bass, 
and others on the Italian front; Hugh Gibson (first secretary 
of the Paris embassy, on loan to the CPI) and Frederick 
Palmer (war correspondent and Signal Corps officer) were 
active in France. 

England successive directors: H. N. Rickey, Henry Suy- 
dam, Charles Edward Russell, John Russell, Perry Arnold, 
Paul Perry; John L. Balderston in charge of news for British 

France successive directors: James Kerney, W. H. Lewis; 
aided by Hugh Gibson, Frederick Palmer, and many others; 
various phases of the film campaign handled by H. C. Hoag- 
land, E. B. Hatrick, and Frank Fayant; head of Paris Wireless- 
Cable office, A. M. Brace; in charge of CPI news from France, 
Maximilian Foster and Perry Arnold. 

Italy successive directors: Ambassador Thomas Nelson 
Page, Charles E. Merriam, John H. Hearley; director of speak- 
ing, Rudolph Altrocchi, succeeded by Sergeant Kingsley Moses 
and assisted by Fiorello LaGuardia, S. A. Cotillo, Vincent 
Auleta, Arthur Benington, Albert Spaulding, and others; 
Byron M. Nester in charge of postcard and photographic 

Russia nearly two dozen men might be listed, but among 
the most important were Edgar Sisson, Arthur Bullard, Guy 
Croswell Smith, Malcolm Davis, Read Lewis, Phil Norton, 
and Consul Maddin Summers. 

Spain Frank J. Marion, director; Irene Wright, business 
manager and editor of the American News, succeeded by 
Seward Collins; Romera Navarro was one of the most impor- 
tant lecturers. 

Switzerland successive directors: Vira B. Whitehouse, 
Guy Croswell Smith; in charge of Wireless-Cable Service, 
George B. Fife; agents of the Friends of German Democracy 
and the Lithuanian Bureau, Frank Bohn and Lieut. B. F. 
Mostowski, respectively. 

Sweden successive directors: Naval Attache E. B. Rob- 
inette, Eric H. Palmer; in charge of films, Guy Croswell Smith. 

Netherlands successive directors: Ambassador John Work 
Garrett, Henry Suydam. 

Denmark Edward V. Riis. 

China Carl Crow. 

Latin America organization trips made by Lieutenant F. E. 
Ackerman in South America and S. P. Verner in Central 

[ 2 44 J 

America; Latin American news directed by Edward L. 

Mexico Robert H. Murray, director; film program in- 
augurated by George Mooser; George F. Weeks in charge of 
news bulletins. 

Brazil Ambassador E. V. Morgan. 

Argentina H. H. Sevier. 

Chile-A. A. Preciado. 

Penz-C. N. Griffis. 

Panama S. P. Verner. 

Many other countries received CPI material through em- 
bassies and legations, through expatriated American business- 
men, and through British agencies. 

The Military Intelligence Branch sent seven officers (in- 
cluding Walter Lippmann, Heber Blankenhorn, and Charles 
Merz) to the A.E.F. to acquire all possible information regard- 
ing the propaganda situation. They commenced their investi- 
gations in France July 18, 1918, but even before this Colonel 
Marlborough Churchill, head of the MIB, and Will Irwin, 
director of the CPI Foreign Section, inaugurated plans for a 
more thorough cooperation between their two offices. When 
Irwin withdrew in July to resume his work as a correspon- 
dent in France, Edgar Sisson, new director of the Foreign 
Section, continued the consultations with Churchill, and the 
result was an agreement between MIB and CPI, signed July 
23, 1918. The two organizations recognized that the Commit- 
tee was equipped to prepare and manufacture the propaganda 
product, utilizing its own and MIB sources of material. The 
mechanical responsibility for manufacture was upon the oper- 
ating forces of the CPI in France and Italy. The responsi- 
bility for distribution, both as to mechanical means and choice 
of operating field at the fronts, was upon Military Intelli- 
gence, since that problem was wholly military. 

The CPI's Dr. G. H. Edgell, a young Harvard architecture 
teacher who later became dean of the faculty of architecture, 
and in 1935 director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 
was appointed U.S. commissioner to the Inter-Allied Com- 

mittee for Propaganda into Enemy Countries, which met at 
Padua. At the same time, James Keeley, former editor of the 
Chicago Herald and after the war an official of the Pullman 
Company, was placed in charge of all CPI propaganda against 
the enemy in Europe. 

One of the most tangible products of joint work by CPI 
and MIB was the interesting series of "Psychological Esti- 
mates" of various countries prepared by MIB on the basis of 
information coming in from all sources. Each of these analyses 
had separate headings for historical background, objectives, 
controlling factors, propaganda status, and the American Pro- 
gram. Two brief quotations will suggest the nature of these 
reports, and the service they were able to give to both MIB 
and CPI: 

"Argentina's economic importance ... to the Allies makes 
it almost imperative that the affairs of the country be in a 
tranquil state. . . . Labor disorders of all kinds . . . are largely 
fomented by German propaganda, playing on grievances often 
legitimate, often grievances against American capital." 

"The Austrian government has testified to its dread of the 
entrance of Bolshevism. It is greatly to the interest of the 
United States to bring to fulfillment the most pessimistic of 
these Austrian anticipations." 

Military men since the war have sometimes said that the 
CPI was inefficient in its cooperation with MIB, and that the 
members of the Creel Committee, most of them inexperi- 
enced, appropriated the glory for hard work performed by 
MIB. Major E. Alexander Powell of MIB, for instance, said 
in his The Army Behind the Army: "Despite the vast amount 
of publicity which has been given to the work of Mr. Creel's 
organization, truth compels me to assert that it was very far 
from being the success which the public has been led to be- 
lieve." It is true that there was occasional jealousy between 
the CPI and MIB field men, but at least in Washington the 
relationship seems to have been cordial and fruitful. The rec- 
ords leave no doubt that it was advantageous to both offices 


not only in furthering worldwide acceptance of the Wilson 
program but also in helping to win the victory that would 
make that program possible. 

Reduced to its simplest terms, the foreign mission of the 
CPI was to convince the people of the world: 

(1) That America could never be beaten; and therefore 
that it behooved them to join the winning side; 

(2) That America was a land of freedom and democracy; 
and therefore that it could be trusted, however faithless im- 
perialist rulers might be; 

(3) That, thanks to President Wilson's vision of a new 
world and his power of achieving it, victory for the Allied 
arms would usher in a new era of peace and hope in which 
armaments could be forgotten, all mankind would gather 
around a council table of the nations, minorities would be 
released from oppression, and the sovereignty of every country 
would be returned to the people. 

Chapter 11 

THE first and most obvious purpose of American propa- 
ganda abroad was to reach the enemy country itself, 
for military leaders have long recognized that in a strug- 
gle between foes at all equally matched the victory is not 
finally won until the war-will of one civilian population is 
destroyed. Since the beginning of the World War the Allies 
and the Central Powers had tried various means of accom- 
plishing this purpose. As early as August 1914, the very first 
month of the war, both the French and the Germans were 
dropping propaganda leaflets, but it was not until the German 
drive gathered in the spring of 1918 that the Allies recognized 
the full importance of propaganda warfare and gave it the 
earnest attention which it had received from Germany all 
along. Not until the tide of battle was actually turning in the 
summer of 1918 did the Allies plan a unified and large-scale 
attack on the propaganda front, and, in the opinion of Ameri- 
cans at least, actual unification was never achieved. 

The United States, as a late-comer to the war, lacked even 
the somewhat limited experience of the Allies, and, except 
in the very last weeks, this country's chief function was to as- 
sist the British, French, and Italians. Even when American 
propaganda material was used, it was frequently transmitted 
to the Germans by Allied, not American, agencies. Apparently 
because of the opprobrium attaching to the word "propa- 
ganda," as well as honest skepticism in certain quarters re- 
garding its effectiveness, American representatives were not 
at first permitted to join wholeheartedly in the work, though 
the symbols of Wilson and America were used in all Allied 
appeals to the peoples of Germany and Austria-Hungary. 


But if America was not especially active in actual trench 
propaganda, realism would have shown that much of the work 
in Switzerland and the Netherlands was aimed not at the citi- 
zens of those countries but across the frontier into Germany 
and Austria. This effort on neutral soil was readily approved 
in Washington, and though many rules of propriety were set 
up they were not impossible of circumvention. 

In the work from neutral bases, the CPI was the important 
American group, but for straight trench propaganda and for 
aerial operations the CPI was ancillary to the Military Intel- 
ligence Branch. The story of the latter organization has been 
interestingly sketched in such popular books as Heber Blank- 
enhorn's Adventures in Propaganda and E. Alexander Powell's 
The Army Behind the Army, while a more systematic pic- 
ture of the whole broad campaign is given in Harold D. Lass- 
well's Propaganda Technique in the World War and the 
recent Hoover War Library book, Allied Propaganda and the 
Collapse of the German Empire, by George G. Bruntz. This 
chapter will not attempt to retrace the same ground but to 
keep the focus of interest on the rather modest contributions 
made to this particular phase of the propaganda war by Amer- 
ican agencies, and on the new information regarding Inter- 
Allied "cooperation" that has come to light in the CPI files. 

One of the earliest items in the files on this subject is a 
report from the Military Intelligence Branch informing the 
CPI of French methods of aerial propaganda over the enemy 
lines and the captive territory of Alsace-Lorraine, including 
the use of Russian appeals to the German workers to throw 
off the yoke of oppression. This was but one of many reports 
given to the CPI by Military Intelligence. Sources of infor- 
mation regarding conditions within Germany included Ger- 
man, Swiss, Scandinavian, and Dutch newspapers; reports 
from agents inside Germany; interviews with travellers; mail 
censors' findings; cross-examination of prisoners and deserters; 
reports from patrols and raiding parties. With this information 
from MIB, plus the CPI's reports from its own representa- 
tives, the Committee was supposed to ascertain the enemy's 

[ 2 49 ] 

weak points for example, the critical food situation, friction 
between infantry and artillery, jealousy of Bavarians for Prus- 
sians, and so on. 

When these points had been determined by exchange of 
information and advice between CPI and MIB, the latter was 
to determine the best methods for distributing the propaganda 
material such as airplane, balloon, trench mortar, rocket, 
rifle grenade, agents in the enemy ranks. Not only the contents 
but the size and make-up of the printed material had to be 
carefully considered: the document must be small not only 
so that large numbers could be carried in one device but so 
that the leaflet could be easily concealed, because of reported 


betttftyett Jtrfctiftflcfaitflttitii er^ltm 











beret frff*e* 
0em6fe .... 567 

***ettfffee. . . 31. f 5 

An American 'Taper Bullet" 
Aerial Propaganda Leaflet Showing a Doughboy's Food Rations 



... 18 

ttutter ...... 14 

&ett>tir|fftttee ... 

3uc*ertarett (6 

... 227 

German army orders to shoot upon sight any soldier reading 
an Allied bulletin. 

The message carried by these leaflets was designed either 
to aggravate the defeatism or to inspire the idealism of the 
Germans. In the first category were the leaflets presenting by 
pictogram the growth of the American army in France, figures 
on destruction of U-boats, maps of ground taken from the 
Germans by American troops, and, perhaps most important of 
all, assurances that if German soldiers would surrender, their 
troubles would be over and they would be well fed. A few 
samples of these American propaganda documents (all dat- 
ing from late in the war) are reproduced here. But at the 
same time both the Allies and the Americans made every 
effort to capitalize on President Wilson's interest in the future 
of the German people and his assurances that when the war 
was over the true Germany would at last find itself. 

One of the propaganda channels was amazingly direct and 
simple, and in this case the CPI was in complete charge. This 
was the utilization of newspapers and press services in neutral 
countries to introduce American news directly into the news- 
papers of Germany. Hendrik Willem Van Loon advised the 
CPI in the winter of 1918 that news straight from the CPI 
office in New York would reach Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, 
and Hamburg if printed in the newspapers of the Nether- 
lands, especially Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Walter S. 
Rogers, head of the CPI Wireless-Cable Service in New York, 
forwarded this suggestion to Creel on March 7, 1918. This 
plan was followed, and not only did the CPI message reach 
Germany via the cross-border circulation of papers printed in 
Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, but on occa- 
sion German correspondents themselves filed to their home 
papers CPI stories picked up in neutral papers or from neu- 
tral press associations. 

The propaganda situation on March 30, 1918, was analyzed 
for Creel in a letter from Frederick Palmer, war correspondent 
and officer of the Signal Corps, who was working closely with 
the CPI in Paris. He said: "What we can do in Germany 

depends entirely upon the progress of this [German] offensive. 
, . . If the offensive halts and German casualties are heavy, 
then will be the time to bring home our message to the Ger- 
mans." But Palmer cabled the CPI three days later: "Strongly 
suggest concentration educational facts on enemy country 
immediately. German soldiers and people begin to feel effect 
of heavy casualties and failure of offensive. [Hugh] Gibson, 
who is making remarkable progress and thoroughly familiar 
European methods, should, I think, be given authority and 
support to direct this work in cooperation with [James] Kerney 
with whom he has established cordial working relations." 
Besides recommending continued use of tested methods of 
trench propaganda, Palmer proposed reaching the enemy's 
civilian population across Swiss and Dutch frontiers through 
social-democrat agencies. 

Will Irwin, in charge of the Foreign Section of the CPI, 
thought that Kerney, CPI commissioner in Paris, should not 
attempt to carry both his regular job and the new propaganda 
into enemy countries, but Kerney answered that he could 
handle both phases of the work, and that he could find all the 
help that he needed in France. This caused Irwin some con- 
cern, as he felt it essential that the Paris office be adequately 
staffed not merely to get propaganda into Germany, but to 
have it of exactly the right kind. He wrote Hugh Gibson on 
April 12, 1918: "If we send over matter poorly written, or 
written in such manner as not to reach the intelligence of the 
German people, it is better not to have done it at all. . . . We 
ought to have on that job the best brains we can get men who 
know how to write, men who understand Germany, men 
who have the genius for writing what might be called 'adver- 
tising copy/ ' 

Meanwhile Gibson himself had consulted Lieutenant Ton- 
nelat and his assistant, Hansi, the Alsatian cartoonist, who 
were in charge of French trench propaganda and the smug- 
gling of papers into Germany. These two were convinced that 
the only good means of transmission was the airplane, but 
the War Office had not been willing to assign machines ex- 

clusively for the work. Also, "the flyers who have been required 
to carry bundles of papers with their bombs are usually filled 
with disgust by the idea and dump their load overboard as 
soon as they get out of sight of their starting point, often into 
French trenches or No Man's Land." 

Although balloons had been suggested, Gibson reported 
that they were not completely successful because "they say 
the winds on the Western Front have been arranged for the 
benefit of the Germans." He wrote: "So far no system has been 
devised for controlling the flight of the balloons and a large 
proportion of them float down into Switzerland and some of 
them even to Italy and Spain, while the French peasant in the 
Midi is frequently enraged by picking up in his fields what he 
believes to be Boche propaganda." 

The authors have just received dramatic confirmation of this 
failure to recognize the origin of propaganda. A friend, learn- 
ing of our interest in the war, presented us with four tattered 
pieces of "German propaganda" that he had picked up in 
the front-line trenches when a member of the A.E.F. twenty- 
one years ago. Each of those sheets was a propaganda leaflet 
directed against the Germans by his own army! 

In spite of the uncertainty of the winds, the balloon was an 
important vehicle of propaganda to the end of the war. On 
April 17, 1918, Irwin wrote Gibson about experiments on a 
new balloon which was nine feet in diameter and would carry 
10,000 leaflets, releasing them at the rate of twelve to twenty- 
four per minute, with a bomb to destroy the entire apparatus 
when the last leaflet was gone. It was possible to control the 
time when the leaflets would start to drop, and, in theory at 
least, the balloons would be over enemy territory before the 
"paper bullets" were released. It was claimed that the cost 
of distributing leaflets in this way would be only about a dol- 
lar a thousand. 

Five months later, September 1918, after a long series of 
tests of balloons by Military Intelligence, 500 were ordered, 
the President providing the money from the National Security 
and Defense Fund. The MIB intended to secure 6,000 more, 


i, mo ft(t> M( 
4 Datyrr loiifl brhauptri batten, wnvbf in 27 <finibrn 

von ben 

1'"' i '! ' " 5-ront am 12. rptctnbet fru|>. 
grpiit aw 13. Ztpttmbtr fru>. 

390 Oiiabvatfilcnietcr luiirbcu croberi 
^)ir ^nW bn OK-fiuiiKiicn bcfvdftt 15.000 

To Encourage German Defeatism 

A Balloon-Carried Broadside Reporting American Reduction of the 
St. Mihiel Salient after Four Years in German Possession 


but the program was necessarily curtailed when it was esti- 
mated that by April 1919 the total amount of gas available 
for this purpose in France would have been 2,240,000 cubic 
feet, whereas the full number of balloons would have required 
ten times that amount. 

The methods of trench propaganda included not only air- 
planes and balloons but also various devices for shooting leaf- 
lets into the German lines rifle grenades, rockets, and mor- 
tars. The difficulty here was that enemy artillery promptly 
brought reprisals against the sector from which the propa- 
ganda had come which is as impressive testimony as may be 
presented that the Germans held the paper bullets in higher 
respect than those of metal. Gibson wrote Irwin from Paris 
on April 17 of a way around this difficulty: "There is a new 
plan to use Seventy-Fives which can be fired at the same time 
along a wide front, and in this way reprisals will be prevented. 
For this method special shells will have to be prepared, so it 
cannot be put into effect immediately. . . . The shell is de- 
signed to carry a package of small pamphlets or tracts, and 
the explosion spreads them in a radius of several kilometers 
behind the lines/' 

For reaching civilians behind the German lines, air raids 
were carried on at frequent intervals, but some of the CPI 
personnel thought that smuggling was the most effective 
method of getting the material into the country. Edgar Sisson 
set up arrangements for wholesale smuggling from Russia into 
Germany, and Vira B. Whitehouse, CPI commissioner in 
Switzerland, recommended similar procedure to Colonel God- 
son, military attache at Berne. Also a systematic attempt was 
made to provide German soldiers interned in neutral countries 
with CPI literature, some of which, it was hoped, would reach 
the interior of Germany when prisoners were released or ex- 

How much of this attempted smuggling was successful may 
never be known, but reports of Military Intelligence at least 
suggested good results. For instance, an intelligent Rou- 
manian officer who had returned from Germany was the au- 


thority for a report by our military attache at Jassy: "American 
propaganda in both interior and front has excellent effect, and 
German soldiers and civilians are getting our ideas/' 

While the American MIB and CPI were planning their 
various assaults on German morale, our comrades in arms were 
likewise active, but in April 1918 Henry Suydam of the CPI, 
then in London, reported that as yet there was no genuine co- 
operation among the Allies. Two meetings had been held 
(with U.S. representatives only as observers) in an attempt 
to block out a unified program, but the only result had been 
the dispatch of a "special British mission to Italy to get simple 
direct propaganda before Austrian troops." Although other 
CPI correspondence confirms Suydam in his opinion of the 
London meeting, one result of the British mission to Italy was 
establishment of the Padua headquarters of the International 
Committee for Propaganda into Enemy Countries. 

It is evident from the CPI files that in the opinion of 
Americans none of the attempts at Inter-Allied cooperation 
was as harmonious or as productive of results as one would 
gather from popular accounts by Allied apologists such as Sir 
Campbell Stuart, author of The Secrets of Crewe House. The 
high command of each army properly considered that propa- 
ganda objectives, if achieved, would have an important bear- 
ing on the terms of peace. Everyone wanted to beat Germany, 
but no one wanted to do it in such fashion that territorial or 
other aspirations would be disappointed at the Peace Con- 

Even by July 9, 1918, when Will Irwin said he believed 
that the L^nited States should join in the Inter-Allied effort, 
Charles Edward Russell, CPI agent in London, reported that 
if there had been any joint action to that date he was not 
aware of it. 

Padua, London, and Paris were the three centers of all 
attempts at cooperation, but the "Padua Board/' as it was 
called, seemed to cause the most difficulty. Colonel Siciliani, 
in charge of enemy propaganda for the Italian army, was pres- 
ident of the board, and other nations or would-be nations 


represented were France, England, Roumania, Poland, Bo- 
hemia, and Yugoslavia, with at first only observers from the 
United States. Obviously, the purpose of defeating the Central 
Powers would be served best by encouraging both social revo- 
lution and political separatism within Germany and Austria- 
Hungary. But, to cite only one example of the difficulty en- 
countered in reaching agreement on precisely what should 
be done, Italy had eyes that could see across the Adriatic, and 
had more than a strictly military interest in the political status 
of Yugoslavia and other Austrian territory. 

Nevertheless, dissident groups within Austria were of such 
great potential use to the Allies that in spite of Italian hopes, 
secret treaties, and everything else, the Padua group had to 
cooperate with them. One of the plans employed was to select 
Yugoslavs, Bohemians, Poles, and Irridenti Italians (some of 
whom were probably deserters) from prison camps in Italy, 
put them through a training course, and then have them work 
on the Italian-Austrian front, entering into communication 
with Slav-Austrian troops across the lines and trying to per- 
suade them to meet in No Man's Land for a conference. 

The CPI was directly concerned with this work of splitting 
apart the enemy countries, and not only through our represen- 
tatives abroad but also through the groups of Hungarians, 
Bohemians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, and other subject peoples 
organized in the United States through Josephine Roche's 
Division of Work with the Foreign Born. Resolutions passed 
by national groups in this country were distributed abroad, 
helping greatly to hearten their fellow countrymen engaged 
in underground activities at home or plotting on neutral soil. 

Our encouragement (and eventually our military support) 
of the Czech Legions in Russia represented one form of this 
American participation in the Allied campaign, but there 
were many others. An important incident was the announce- 
ment of the Secretary of State, May 30, 1918, of American 
interest in the Congress of Oppressed Peoples of Austria- 
Hungary, meeting in Rome, and his statement of our sym- 


pathy with the national aspirations of Czechoslovakia and 
Yugoslavia. **"! 

That statement seemed so useful, in fact, that American 
help assumed a new importance in Allied eyes, and in July 
1918 James Keeley, the Chicago publisher, was placed in 
charge of all CPI propaganda work against the enemy, with 
C. H. Edgell, the Harvard architecture teacher, serving under 
him as U.S. commissioner to the Padua Board. Later Edgell 
was joined by Lieutenant Walter F. Wanger, and that future 
movie producer had an important part in aerial propaganda 
work at the Italian Front. 

Keeley soon learned, however, that the organization with 
which he was supposed to cooperate was cooperative largely 
on paper. He reported on August 18: 

"We expected to find three organized and working Inter- 
Allied Propaganda Boards, one in Paris, one in London and 
one in Padua, which would be landmarks in the fields, with 
which we would have to deal and to which we would immedi- 
ately designate liaison officers. Those boards are ghosts. This 
afternoon we sat in at a session of the so-called board here 
[Paris]. It is essentially the new French Army Board for propa- 
ganda into enemy countries, headed by Commandant Chaix, 
and international only by the virtue of the fact that an Italian, 
an Englishman, three Belgians and three Americans (Hugh 
Gibson, Lippmann, and I) were present to hear what the 
French had done and were planning." 

Keeley continued his report: "The French at last are doing 
quite a good deal of propaganda in a precise, intelligent fash- 
ion, freely playing the American card as their trump, and 
mainly through the energy of Major Chaix, a Clemenceau 
personal appointee, attempting to expand their efforts with 
an intensified air program, greater use of smuggling through 
Switzerland, and reaching out to touch off Albania and Bul- 
garia. . . . The British are also doing a good bit, mainly with 
balloons but not with aeroplanes. The Belgians are anxious 
to have the whole program center around the distribution of 
Belgian newspapers and literature. ... All this means that 


there is considerable stirring of the ground but no clear and 
scientific ploughing and not an American machine on the 
whole farm." 

Finally, during the middle of August 1918, the long expected 
Inter-Allied Conference on Propaganda in Enemy Countries 
met in London. Its copious minutes reveal little actual work in 
addition to points already mentioned. Those present thought 
that Austria-Hungary was the country toward which most of 
the Allied propaganda should be directed. As for Germany, 
"the effect of raids on such towns as Essex, Frankfurt and all 
the Rhine Towns and the munition centers is very great." 
The conference closed after adopting resolutions favoring a 
permanent Inter-Allied Committee. 

As the Allies pushed through their victory drive in the 
late summer of 1918, Edgell reported from Rome that the 
situation on his front seemed satisfactory, though distribu- 
tion of material had decreased somewhat, with the civil popu- 
lation of Austria-Hungary virtually ignored except for sporadic 
raids such as those of D'Annunzio over Vienna. On August 29, 
however, Edgell told of an ugly controversy which had grown 
out of proposed use of Yugoslav soldiers. The English and 
French backed the Serbs in their desire to recruit Yugoslav 
prisoners (former Austrian soldiers) for fighting on the Salo- 
niki front, but the Italians wanted to use them for pushing 
the Austrian army out of Italy. In the meantime the Yugo- 
slavs already employed at the Italian Front were making 
trouble as a result of their dubious standing sometimes be- 
ing regarded as prisoners of war and sometimes comrades in 
arms. Yugoslav soldiers who did not please the Italians were 
returned to prison camps, and under these circumstances the 
Serbs refused to recognize or officer the Legions. 

As that antagonism grew, other signs of disintegration of 
the Padua Board increased, although the United States, 
through Mr. Edgell, Lieutenant Wanger, and others, increased 
its own efforts. Edgell's recommendation was sent to Edgar 
Sisson on October 7. He said that the Austrian "must be made 
to believe that America is after him as much as the German 


The ration* of Prisoners of War are 

exactly the same 
as those of the american troops 

White bread, meat, bacon, lard, 
marmalade, tobacco, etc. are inclu- 
ded in the daily rations of the 
American soldiers and, therefore, 
also in the rations of the prisoners. 

9lebe be$ raftbenten SBtlfon 

torn 27. September 1918. 

Oft (into tm ato tarubrr rfnijj, t/a& ffin grirtt gffcfjtefffn 
nxrtnt fannburd) irgfnhrfltfjf ScrfjanHungfn c*t r UcBrrniifc>miiKn 
mil tfn 9ljtfriingfn tcr 3<"''' < 'l ni 4 ( fcl<. "X^nn irir fyabcn filjon 
mit lb,nm wbanbflt unb (if mil antmn Sffgicrungcn, bit an 
tUfrai flampff bftfiligt warm, in S 3tffl-?itcivf unb 23iifarf(l 
wrtyantfln ffl)fn. Sit ^abtn un ubfrjtiigl, ta& (if jrttr (Jfjrt 
tar |in\) unt> ni(^t na(^ mfylgfcit (Ircbrn. t( ff^nfid) ubtt 
SerrrSgt l)lnn>fg unt ffnnrn ftinfit antmn runbfa(> alfl nralt 
nnb @iy]fnnu&. SDir fcuntn mit ibnrn ju fcincm 3\<\t 
fommtn : fit f?abfn jctrd ^invaflan'Dnid unmfglid) gcma^l. 
Da6 tfuifd)t SSolf mu fid) nunmcfyr vcllfommfn barutfr florftin, 
boj rcir tat Sfficrt tfr, ti< titffn Jtrirg ubfr unfl t;erauf> 
(cf^tvornt hobfn, ni*i annt^nun fonncn. 2Ba Salr&ge 
onlangJ, fo brnfrn rcir nify titfriBtn (Sfbanfen unto fprec^cn ni$t 
Mffrltt Spraa)( roit fie 

(f if) oon !;6d)(ltr fflidiiigfdt, taf roir un~ ccUfemmfn 
tahibtr (into, {into, tap fcin ftrictt gtf^lofftn tixrtien fann, turdj 
rt on lUbtrtinfcmmfn ctcr Slbrodi^tn von ben 
n, fur fcCTtn Dur^fu^run^ wir fanqjfra! ^ierubtr 

The treatment of prisoners prescribed above 
must be obeyed to the letter of the law. Good 
treatment is assured to every German Soldier 
who gives himself up. 

Invitation to German Deserters 

Text of Pershing's Order on Treatment of Prisoners, and German 
Translation of a Message from President Wilson 

fighting in France. He must be convinced of the effort in 
America . . . but also of the effort America is to make here. 
Any announcement of an American effort in Italy, such as 
the sending of troops here or the announcement of any steps 
taken to strengthen the Italo-Amencan entente must be played 
to the limit. Another point, the material must be extremely 
pertinent. For example, the photograph of 10,000 American 
soldiers at Camp Grant is great material. It carries a kick and 
embodies a threat that the commonest soldier can under- 

With additional reports of military victory, James Keeley 
suggested from Paris on October 10 a plan "To establish and 
cause to be accepted by the enemy peoples the ideas of new 
organizations ... for all peoples following the modified con- 


ditions in international life." He thought that if the Central 
Powers were flooded with literature explaining German re- 
sponsibility for starting the war, and the advantage to the peo- 
ple to be gained from German democracy, the effect on the 
enemy population during peace negotiations would be good. 

Keeley touched here upon the most delicate point of the 
whole propaganda effort against Germany and Austria. Every 
speech of President Wilson's, every piece of literature put out 
by the CPI, was in effect an incitement to both political and 
social revolution: the people of Germany were told that the 
United States had no quarrel with them but only with their 
tyrannical government; that the Germans had been systemati- 
cally robbed, misruled, and lied to by the Junker class. And 
when armistice negotiations began, the Germans were told 
that we could not accept an engagement from the existing 
government: in other words that a revolution must take place 
before peace could be concluded. 

Similarly, America's promises to Czechs, Yugoslavs, and 
other minorities could not be made good without the dismem- 
berment of established governments. 

Yet both Mr. Wilson and many people in the CPI believed 
that the United States differed from other belligerents in not 
encouraging revolution, in not doing anything "that would 
directly or indirectly bring about revolution, even in an enemy 
country." When Mr. Wilson used that last phrase it was in 
advising caution regarding plans of Frank Bohn, an agent of 
the Friends of German Democracy. But very shortly after this, 
on September 20, 1918, George Creel introduced to President 
Wilson at the White House the president of the Czechoslovak 
Republic, Thomas Masaryk, whose country as yet existed only 
on paper. This was of course consistent with Wilson's faith 
that autocratic governments could be liberalized by orderly 
representative processes; but by the enemy it was called 

Besides Mr. Wilson's own part in urging the peoples of 
Germany and Austria-Hungary to democratize their govern- 
ments and to seek political self-determination, many agents of 

the CPI in many countries were in secret or open alliance with 
separatists and social revolutionaries of the enemy powers, and 
Military Intelligence even suggested direct incitement of labor 
trouble with a secondary system of secret agents to guard 
against treachery by the primary agitators. 

All of this is customary in warfare and no different from 
the plotting and propaganda of many other countries, but it 
should be remembered that the expatriated Germans through 
whom the Americans worked in Switzerland and elsewhere 
were called traitors at home, and that to pro-Germans among 
the neutral populations the work of our Military Intelligence 
and CPI appeared similar to that of German propagandists in 
this country during the years of our neutrality. Certain phases 
of the work on neutral soil will be examined in the next 

262 ] 

Chapter 12 

IN propaganda against enemy countries, as the reader has 
seen, part of the campaign was directed over No Man's 
Land, and carried by various ingenious devices straight 
into the heart of the German army. But part of the attack was 
launched from neutral countries bordering on the Central 
Powers, and from there the major effort was made toward 
breaking down the political integrity and the civilian morale 
of Germany and Austria. Separatist movements in the two 
countries were developed on neutral as well as on Allied soil, 
and the forces of social revolution given encouragement. 

The mere geographical convenience of certain non-bellig- 
erent countries such as Switzerland, Holland, and Denmark, 
therefore made them attractive to MIB and CPI, as well as 
to a host of espionage and counter-espionage agents of both 
the Allies and the Central Powers. 

But the World War was not given that name lightly. The 
theater of active operations for all forces except those of com- 
bat embraced the entire world. Even those neutral countries 
hundreds or thousands of miles from the German border had 
a place in the strategic situation. Spain, for instance, was of 
slight potential use as a base of propaganda operations into 
Germany, but the question of Spain's continued neutrality (as 
opposed to possible belligerence at the back door of France) 
was so important that both the Allies and the Germans waged 
a bitter and spirited campaign of publicity and intrigue. 

In other countries, such as Sweden, the pro-Ally or pro- 
German disposition of the people and their government might 
be a serious factor in economic warfare, and especially in rela- 


tion to the Allied blockade, which the Swedes were in a posi- 
tion to help or hinder. 

In Latin America there were special reasons of commerce 
and politics why the CPI should find it wise to operate there, 
and in Russia (which after the Bolshevik Revolution and the 
Peace of Brest-Litovsk was never satisfactorily defined as 
enemy, ally or neutral) there were still more complicated 
forces at work. These two special cases receive treatment in 
the final chapters of this section. 

And in all neutral countries, whether or not touching the 
territory of our enemies, President Wilson, and hence the 
CPI, were concerned with preparing the way for the Peace 
Conference with convincing everyone that a peace such as 
was in his mind was the only hopeful peace for the world, and 
with establishing America's right as an unselfish, peace-loving, 
forward-looking democracy, free from the "age-old prejudices 
of Europe" to step forth as the friend of all mankind and lay 
down the program. 

As in so many other phases of the CPI, the work in neutral 
countries is of amazing ramifications, and merits far more ex- 
tended study than is possible here. However, as an illustration 
of how the CPI conducted its operations of this sort this chap- 
ter will be devoted to special aspects of CPI work not already 
familiar through the work of other writers. 

Spain was the first of the European neutrals to receive the 
direct and forceful attention of the Creel Committee. On 
November 14, George Creel notified Frank J. Marion, presi- 
dent of Kalem Company, that he had been selected to dis- 
tribute CPI movies in Spain and Italy. Before sailing he 
received a letter from President Wilson warning him to 
abstain from intrigue and simply to carry out an honest educa- 
tional mission in a frank and open way. Marion wrote to the 
CPI in March 1918 that he had carried out these instructions 

"I have not assumed that it has been in my province to con- 
duct any active anti-German campaign, but rather to confine 

myself to the clear instructions of the President namely, to 
make the people of Spain better acquainted with the United 
States, the people and their resources, in an entirely friendly 
way. Acting upon this assumption I have not been able to 
cooperate very closely with similar offices of the Allies. ... I 
have not made any attempt to answer the anti-American 
propaganda of the enemy, and will not do so unless so in- 
structed by you/' 

But Marion and those associated with him found that the 
Germans had been long in the field. Irene Wright, an Ameri- 
can girl engaged in research at Seville, was among the very 
first to offer her services to the American Embassy, and after 
she became assistant to the naval attache she wrote to Marion: 
"The enemy has long conducted, and is still conducting, a 
careful and clever campaign of propaganda in this country. 
It is directed by men who thoroughly understand the character 
of the people with whom they are dealing. . . . Germany had 
prepared this field. . . . Her best agents were her accommo- 
dating business men/' 

To the American sitting at home, constantly reading the 
varied messages of the Creel Committee, it must have been 
hard to imagine what the Germans could find to use in their 
propaganda against us in Spain, but a brief catalog was given 
in a message from the Madrid naval attache to Marion: 

". . . Readers in southern Spain are eternally reminded that 
the English took and kept Gibraltar; readers in northern Spain 
are eternally reminded of what was suffered during the Na- 
poleonic invasion; readers in all Spain are not permitted to 
forget that it was the Americans who bereft Spain of the 
last of her colonial glory. Catholics are incited against the 
heretic English, against the godless French, and the gross ma- 
terialistic Yankee/ 7 

General discouragement with previous attempts to combat 
the German propaganda in Spain was indicated in various 
ways. Hugh Gibson in the Department of State at Washing- 
ton wrote Creel on December 3, 1917: "We have been hear- 


ing a good deal lately from Madrid as to the need for propa- 
ganda in Spain. The Germans are apparently having things 
pretty much their own way and have built up a strong press 
with such papers as La Tribuna, ABC and so on. ... A let- 
ter which has just reached me says, among other things: 'It is 
absolutely necessary for us to combat this influence with all 
our power, and it seems as though we alone of all the co- 
belligerents, can do it. From what I learn the English and 
French have undertaken to control certain papers here but 
have failed; they did not go about it in the right way, although 
they offered large sums of money for the control of certain 
periodicals/ ' 

A little later, on January 4, 1918, the American Ambassa- 
dor in Madrid, Joseph E. Willard, sent some clippings from 
The Times of London to the Secretary of State with the ob- 
servation: "The Embassy's views on this subject are quite 
accurately expressed by these articles. Independent propa- 
ganda on our part at this time, unless handled on a very large 
scale and with the utmost tact (and there is no person now 
here competent to take charge of the necessary organization) , 
is extremely dangerous. . . . The Embassy therefore suggests 
that no independent American propaganda be undertaken, 
but that we lend quiet support to the propaganda work of 
the Allies, if and when that propaganda becomes intelligent." 

Before Ambassador Willard had written this letter, how- 
ever, Marion's film campaign had started, and by January 2, 
1918, a naval attache was reporting: "Showing preparedness 
pictures to large gathering army officers at their request. Lead- 
ing labor union sending fifty men each show Madrid. Start 
showing Salamanca and Bilboa next week. Confident our work 
important and beneficial." 

In February 1918, while Marion was absent from Spain, 
the naval attache, Captain (later Rear Admiral) Burton C. 
Decker, continued showing the films, reporting mild success 
and recommending to Washington that the campaign be con- 
tinued independently of the Allies. 

First American news dispatches reached Spain via the Tuck- 
erton-Lyons wireless toward the end of February, as arranged 
by Marion. The naval attache had the dispatches translated 
and turned over to the Fabra news agency, setting up an office 
in a house opposite the American Embassy in Madrid and 
placing Irene Wright in charge of the service. Miss Wright 
did not limit herself to straight news work, however, and on 
March 9 recommended to Marion that the Singer Sewing 
Machine Company and American automobile concerns oper- 
ating in Spain be asked to put CPI displays in their windows, 
although she thought the quality of the pictures then avail- 
able would have to be improved. The files reveal a letter, dated 
June 7, 1918, from C. P. Adcock, Singer representative in 
Spain, asking for 200 sets of CPI photographs "to display in 
the shops of the Singer Company in Madrid and the Prov- 
inces," and offering to assume the cost of distribution. 

Meanwhile the news service was operating under difficul- 
ties, the most embarrassing of all being the failure of the sup- 
ply in the middle of March when telegraph and mail com- 
munication with Spain was suspended. Marion, however, at- 
tempted to carry on in spite of this obstacle, and we find him 
writing on March 18, 1918: "We are scraping together from 
every available source items with which to fake a service to 
Fabra during the present suspension of communications. Our 
supply is very limited. You will therefore appreciate the ad- 
visability of your getting material to us through any channel 
that may be open." 

But even with a steady flow of news, Marion felt seriously 
handicapped because of the pro-German attitude of many 
Spanish editors. One means of pressure that occurred to him 
was suggested to CPI headquarters: "A crisis is impending 
here, which, if we can control the supply of print paper to 
Spain, will enable us to control the Spanish press. ... I be- 
lieve that at this moment I could alter the complexion of the 
most influential journal in the country (A B C) if I could 
assure its owners of a supply, or a lack of supply, of print 


paper, depending upon their attitude toward the United 

Operative No. 52 of Naval Intelligence suggested the same 
weapon to his headquarters in Washington, and added that 
American manufacturers might give further incentive by 
placing advertising in Spanish papers friendly to our cause. 

When Marion returned to the United States in April, Irene 
Wright was left in charge of the news service and the general 
CPI program was given into the hands of Lieutenant George 
A. Dorsey, U.S.N.R., assigned by Captain Decker. Miss 
Wright was authorized by Marion "to make payment for arti- 
cles, after some have been published, to reputable writers 
whose work benefits the educational campaign of this office." 

Dorsey summed up Marion's work to that date and sug- 
gested future action in a letter to Creel on May 13, 1918: 

"Marion has done remarkably good work, considering his 
handicap. ... Re handicaps: The change in attaches is bound 
to make Marion's work easier and smoother Captain Crosley 
[succeeding Decker] will get along with the Ambassador, 
which means in my opinion that Publicity will get along. An- 
other handicap may be removed if your office will be more 
prompt in replying to Marion's cables and letters. . . . There 
must be, for telling work, cooperation here among War, Navy, 
War Trade Board and Embassy on the one hand and the ... 
representatives of the Committee on Public Information on 
the other even if the President has to order such cooperation. 
... I believe we can bargain Spain to a showdown in which 
case she will see her destiny on the Allies' bandwagon. But 
we cannot get a showdown by trading oil for provisions or 
even good will. Spain respects force and must be shown we 
have things to show her, but we have asked her to peep through 
the keyhole rather than open wide the door." 

Meanwhile, an attempt was made to gain the help of in- 
fluential Spanish writers, and the CPI office in Madrid wrote 
Rafael Atlamira on June 4, "It occurred to me that you . . . 
might be able wisely to advise the office of this representative 

[ 268 1 

how best to proceed to acquaint Spain with American life, 
aims, and ideals." When Mariano Alarcon was approached on 
the subject of lecturing in Spain on behalf of the United 
States he was indignant, suggesting that he was being treated 
cheaply. His objection was at least apparently misunderstood, 
and he was told that the rates proposed were normal and that 
there was no thought of trying to buy his good will: "What we 
do hope to do is to make ourselves known as you, for instance, 
know us. Knowing us, Spain will form her own opinion, as you 
have yours. . . . Inquire and you will find that the American 
government has no propaganda office, that we have subsidized 
no newspapers, that we have no notion of buying Spanish 
opinion for cash." 

The extant files of the CPI do not reveal whether the ar- 
rangement with Senor Alarcon in particular was completed, 
but regarding Altamira and other leading writers the result 
was successful. Miss Wright wrote to Will Irwin, director of 
the Foreign Section in Washington, on June 18: 

"He [Altamira] agrees with me that it were better that the 
two gentlemen you name should arrive in Spain without ap- 
parent close connection with this office rather, in their proper 
capacity of 'friendly intellectuals/ As such, they will be met 
by a young Spaniard whom Dr. Altamira will select . . . who, 
between now and their arrival, will have arranged bookings for 
them in those cities which Dr. Altamira's experience leads him 
to think suitable. ... In brief, the idea is to make this lecture 
work look as unlike propaganda as may be to make it appear 
to be an intellectual treat, among friends, quite apart from 
war or rumors of war. In each city the club or organization 
likely to drum up the largest and most influential audience will 
be selected." 

But even more direct action was resorted to, as is evidenced 
by a number of letters in the files. One, for example, is from 
the CPI office in Madrid to the American Consul at San- 
tander, the legible part of which is reproduced on the next 


IXVU.OM o> Poti tinvtet 




lurbano 14. Madrid, June 19. 

TO : The American Oonsul, Santander. 

FROM : Madfid Office, Oormitte* on Public .Information. 

3HBJSC7: Friendly Eerropapor. 

1* Referring to oonreraationo between you and Lieutenant 

2. Monthly , beginning the reckoning from next Saturday, thoro 
will bo sent you 500 pesetas from this offloe. whloh it is re- 
quested that you see delirered to tho editor in q.ueation. 

3. Beginning on Saturday, the Fabra agonoy in this oity 
will send that paper a daily 15 ninute news service, to consist 
of one domestic item, one allied item, and tho rest American 
nov73. It is requested that the editor oommunioate direct w ith 
Fabra as to hours, oto, just as though he were a regular 
subscriber, which, indeed, he has beoomo* 

Special Inducements Were Sometimes Necessary 

The Madrid office also wrote, on June 29, to the American 
consul at Coruna: "In one port in Spain, whenever a vessel 
puts in from America, certain newspaper correspondents (for 
the Madrid press and agencies which serve the provinces) in- 
variably hear a lot of cheerful talking about war activities in 
America. ... It is earnestly requested that you discover who 
at Coruna represents Radio, ... La Correspondencia, El 
Mundo . . . and see to it that whenever a ship comes in from 
America he hears the same sort of good news. ... It is re- 
quested that you advise us what connections the man discov- 
ered has, for in some instances tolls will have to be prepaid, 
and we would expect to gratify the correspondent modestly. 
. . . When this gets to working, we would also like you to tip 
this office off whenever a ship with talkative passengers or 
crew comes in that from this end we may aid them to become 

[ 2? o] 

even more communicative. . . . This is a good stunt and it 
works, and therefore we beg you to aid us to establish it there." 

Utilization of the American colony in Madrid and elsewhere 
for propaganda purposes was aided by establishment, in July 
1918, of a newspaper, about 9 x 12 in size, called the American 
News and distributed without charge each week to every Amer- 
ican citizen in the country whose address was known. Simul- 
taneously the distribution of photographs was improving, and 
apparently Miss Wright's objections of poor quality had been 
overcome, for on July 1 1 the Madrid office was writing Will 
Irwin for "twenty times what we are now getting/' 

Marion's return to Spain was not viewed with approval by 
some of our representatives there. Miss Wright had told Irwin 
that Marion would continue to encounter the opposition of 
the Embassy, and that what was needed for CPI chief in Spain 
was "a man competent to chat with the King while still acting 
as unofficial ambassador to the Lefts." Miss Wright's prophecy 
of friction was fulfilled two weeks later, for the files show a 
letter of July 26 from Marion to Major John W. Lang, mili- 
tary attache and later chief of public relations of the General 

"In reply to your memo asking 'just what the object of this 
office is,' I beg to quote you the following from President Wil- 
son's letter to me of last November 14. ... Will you now, be 
good enough to let me have similar information concerning 
your office what relation, I mean, it has to the general mat- 
ter of publicity in Spain?" 

Relations with Naval Intelligence in Spain continued to be 
cordial, but Marion complained to Sisson on July 26: "I find 
on my return that the Navy Department has not allowed the 
attache here money enough to enable him to develop his sys- 
tem of agents in Spain, nor even enough, it appears, to enable 
him to maintain it as it now exists. . . . But for these agents 
we would not have got as far as we have in our enterprise." 

In August, Miss Wright resigned, and Professor Romera 
Navarro of the University of Pennsylvania took her place for 


a short time, after which the office was turned over to Seward 
B. Collins, then a Princeton undergraduate, now editor of The 
American Review. 

Professor Navarro then continued on the lecture tour for 
which the CPI had sent him to Spain. A typical report on the 
success of this latter effort was given by the American Consul 
at Vigo on September 4: 

"The address of Professor Romera Navarro which was given 
here on the 2nd instant was very well received and the audi- 
ence, which consisted of about 300 persons, mostly business 
men and others of local prominence, was very enthusiastic over 
same. I may add that some of the auditors who had anticipated 
a highly literary lecture which would be over the heads of most 
of the auditors spoke enthusiastically of the popular manner 
in which the lecturer treated his theme of 'American views 
about Spain/ ['Spain in America' according to Navarro.] It 
flattered them to learn of the broadminded and liberal attitude 
of Americans towards the work of their countrymen in discov- 
ering and settling America and the keen interest of Americans 
to learn the Spanish language and the literature of Spain/' 

At the same time Jose M. Gay was touring the peninsula 
with CPI films and announcing good results. The favorite 
reels, he said, were Making an Automobile, A Glass of Beer, 
Making of Shoes, and The Queen of the Rails. The MIB was 
somewhat skeptical of the movie campaign: free admission, 
they thought, attracted a large crowd of good-for-nothings but 
failed to draw the influential section of the population. As a 
more promising venture the MIB proposed sending Spanish 
journalists to the front to see for themselves the might of the 
American military machine a project that was carried out, 
though Marion suggested careful chaperonage next time, as 
the returning travellers were more impressed with Parisian 
dinners and joy rides than with the grim matter of war. 

Marion appreciated the value of news from France and on 
August 8 complained to Edgar Sisson, the newly appointed 
director of the CPI Foreign Section: "I have appealed to 

Washington and Paris at almost weekly intervals for six 
months for suitable material from our front, but cannot get 
it. There is no propaganda like a victory in Spain, and now 
that we are winning [Marion was writing on 'the Black Day 
of the German Army'], all I can get in the way of news is how 
many Sam Browne belts have been issued to the Y.M.C.A." 
For a month Marion continued to complain that news was 
coming into Spain from every source except the CPI, but 
when the CPI finally sent Maximilian Foster to join the 
A.E.F. and prepare special CPI dispatches from the front, 
Marion wrote to Sisson in delight: "The new special service 
of Maximilian Foster from the front is working fine and all 
the papers are using it. Please notice that 'all!' That means the 
pro-German press as well. It is just the dope I have been shoot- 
ing for, for months. I am getting good stuff also from the for- 

Copy for PUB. 

June 30th 1918. A. U. 

From agent at Santander. 

The Diario Palentino of 
Palencia will use service but they 
want Five hundred Pesetas per 
month. If agreeable to you begin 
at onoe. = 13229. 



Naval Attache. 


A Memorandum from the Spanish Office Files 

eign press bureau and using it to good advantage. The cable 
is now coming from London, greatly condensed and reduced, 
to save tolls, but is all right just about what I need to augment 
the Foster stuff/' 

In Spain, as in every other country, the two potent items 
of propaganda were military success of the Allied arms and the 
idealism of Woodrow Wilson. With the tide of battle clearly 
turned in the fall of 1918, the post-war program became more 
and more important. W. F. Alcock, American Consular Agent 
at Huelva, wrote Marion: "Of all the Public Information copy 
that has been distributed round here, I can safely say that 
President Wilson's La Liga de Naciones has eclipsed every- 
thing," and Marion himself was writing to A. M. Brace in 
Paris on October 11, "Wilson's speeches are the biggest fea- 
tures of the day, far ahead of the Spanish 'Crisis' or the 'epi- 
demic.' Anything and everything about Wilson goes." 

One of Marion's final reports before the Armistice was hope- 
ful: ". . . All the papers of Spain are coming out strongly 
for President Wilson and his policies, and by the time this 
letter reaches you, it may be that 'the message of democracy' 
will have done its work here as in other oppressed countries 
of Europe. A change here is inevitable. I think it will be peace- 

But an ominous note for the future had been sounded by 
Marion in a letter to Sisson on October 25, a fitting quotation 
with which to close this hasty survey of CPI work in Spain: 

"Daily evidence is accumulating in my office that the British 
and French are trying in many ways to offset the growing in- 
fluence of President Wilson. It is reliably reported to me that 
a member of the French Embassy said to a prominent Span- 
iard yesterday, 'President Wilson may think he is going to 
be the arbiter of this war but he is fooling himself. When the 
time comes, the French and the British will settle it as they 
please.' . . . The use of the word 'Yanqui,' which always ap- 
pears in the press material given out by the French office, is 
used with malice aforethought, for they know it is a term of 
opprobrium in Spain." 


Switzerland was similar to Spain in that German propa- 
gandists had a long head start, and in that the CPI representa- 
tive encountered opposition from some other American agents 
in the country. But because of Switzerland's large German 
population, as well as its geographical position, many special 
problems were encountered. The CPI agent was Vira B. 
Whitehouse (Mrs. Norman de R. Whitehouse) , and her in- 
teresting story has been told in her book A Year as a Govern- 
ment Agent. She had been an active suffrage worker, and was 
as devout a believer in the Wilson program as Creel himself, 
to whom her book is dedicated. 

Before her work in Berne was finished she engaged in cer- 
tain secret operations, but her principal difficulties came about 
because of her desire for full and frank announcement of her 
mission, whereas legation officials, for a variety of reasons, 
favored as little emphasis as possible on Mrs. Whitehouse and 
her work. She was eager to carry out her mission openly, and 
made a great play of submitting her literature to Swiss gov- 
ernment officials with the CPI imprint prominently displayed. 

Mrs. Whitehouse was given her assignment in December 
1917. She was barely out of the country when the Department 
of Justice informed Creel in confidence that Mr. and Mrs. 
Whitehouse had repeatedly visited Germany before the war 
and had received many attentions from the Emperor. Creel 
was able to reply that the Whitehouse visits had been to Am- 
bassador Gerard. "Whitehouse himself belongs to one of the 
oldest and wealthiest families in New York, and is one of the 
truest Americans I know." And Ambassador Gerard himself 
wrote: "Congratulations on your sagacity in sending Mrs. 
Whitehouse to Switzerland." 

Another difficulty arose when it was reported that Norman 
Whitehouse was going to conduct a propaganda campaign in 
Switzerland and our State Department announced that, far 
from this being the case, Mrs. Whitehouse was on a tour to 
study conditions relating to women and children. Mrs. White- 
house protested indignantly, but was told that the announce- 
ment was only camouflage and to proceed with her mission. 

But when she arrived at Berne, Charge cT Affaires Hugh Wil- 
son showed little enthusiasm for the extra-diplomatic addition 
to the group of American representatives. Mrs. Whitehouse 
told Creel on February 18: "Wilson still holds on to the wire- 
less news, apparently not using much of it, although on receipt 
of your telegram saying I was to handle it, not Wilson, he 
wrote that he would turn it over to me." 

Even before Mrs. Whitehouse's arrival, the legation officials 
had established contact with two German-language papers, 
Die Freie Zeitung in Berne, and Das Deutsches Wort in Ge- 
neva. Dr. Rosemeier, a leading contributor to the former, was 
thought (probably inaccurately) to be the author of /' accuse 
and, according to William Phillips, Assistant Secretary of 
State, in a report to Creel "has been of much assistance to our 
legation in Berne in furnishing information of a valuable na- 
ture, while the paper itself is regarded by the legation as a 
valuable medium for American educational publicity/' But 
all of our agents seemed to feel that the German propaganda 
machine was firmly entrenched both as to newspapers and as 
to movie houses, which were believed to have been purchased 
in great numbers by a German trust. 

In March Mrs. Whitehouse left Berne for Paris and the 
United States because of legation antagonism, but on June 24 
she was back on the job again, this time armed with a special 
letter from President Wilson, who also wrote Minister Pleasant 
A. Stovall. While Mrs. Whitehouse was away one of the most 
active American propagandists was Frank Bohn, who handled 
some of the CPI publicity work but was chiefly concerned with 
"political" undertakings. 

One of Bonn's suggestions, tangible support for Die Freie 
Zeitung, was also made independently by Mrs. Whitehouse: 
"I have seen Dr. Schlieben, editor-in-chief of the Freie Zei- 
tung, and have had two long interviews with him and he has 
made out a budget for the activities of the German democrats 
here in Switzerland." As to handling money, she said, "It is 
of absolute importance . . . that it should come to them not 
from any government fund but from friends of German De- 


mocracy whom they believe in connected with our Com- 
mittee." The contribution to Die Freie Zeitung was needed to 
make up the monthly deficit caused by free distribution in 
Germany and among German prisoners interned in Switzer- 
land. Another justification of the contribution was that it 
would pay for the unsold copies of any issue of the paper con- 
taining American news the copies supposedly being bought 
to send to German-Americans across the Atlantic. 

By the middle of July Mrs. Whitehouse's campaign in Swit- 
zerland was making rapid advances on many fronts. She sought 
permission to join with Allied agents in seeking to gain control 
of commercial moving pictures, and she persuaded Agence 
Telegraphique Suisse to use the COMPUB news service, 
which was handled at the Swiss end by George B. Fife, on 
"loan" from the Red Cross. 

The chief need was for translators, and Mrs. White- 
house asked especially for Dr. Heinecke, regarding whom the 
CPI wrote Secretary Lansing on July 27: "We are very much 
in need there of some one who writes good literary German 
and at the same time has the American point of view. . . . His 
loyalty has been thoroughly investigated by the Intelligence 
Department of the Army. The French, before giving him per- 
mission to cross France, wish to have assurances from you that 
Dr. Heinecke is needed by the United States in Switzerland. 
Would you be good enough to send such assurances at your 
earliest convenience to Monsieur Jusserand, the French Am- 
bassador?" The French consented, and sent Heinecke across 
their territory, as the Germans had sent Lenin on a very dif- 
ferent mission to Russia. 

While on her sabbatical from Berne, Mrs. Whitehouse had 
asked permission to send some Swiss journalists to the United 
States, and on her return to Switzerland this was arranged. 

On several occasions Mrs. Whitehouse reported, both di- 
rectly through CPI and sometimes by furnishing information 
to MIB agents (which information was then forwarded to 
Washington, turned over to CPI, and sent back to Mrs. 
Whitehouse once more) that the best of all propaganda would 

be provision of food for hard-pressed Switzerland. The news 
service was not entirely certain, and until Maximilian Foster 
began his reporting from the front was not entirely satisfac- 
tory; the film program was not running smoothly, partly, Mrs. 
Whitehouse believed, because of War Trade Board embargo. 
But short-term arrangements for getting grain into Switzer- 
land would far outbalance this in the minds of the Swiss. 

Arrangements for victualling the country would also have an 
effect on the government, and that might be useful in view 
of the fact that propaganda was going to the interned Germans 
against the order of the Swiss authorities. Mrs. Whitehouse 
wrote to Edgar Sisson on October 7, 1918: "Part of the $2,500 
you send me in cash goes into this work. Bank accounts in 
Switzerland and bank transactions are not confidential as in 
America. I therefore thought that it was wiser to do all such 
necessary but illegal work with the money that comes in cash 
and cannot be traced." 

One of Mrs. Whitehouse's last important acts before the 
Armistice was to transmit to the Swiss press and the press of 
the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire, President Wilson's 
appeal for moderation and order. After an exciting time (dur- 
ing which she says the Legation officials, military attaches, and 
Allied representatives were completely uncooperative) she 
tried all normal means of communication into the onetime 
Dual Monarchy, and finally dispatched the pacifist Hungarian, 
Rozika Schwimmer (who later was refused American citizen- 
ship in a famous Supreme Court decision) , over the border 
with translations of President Wilson's message, which read: 

"May I not say, as speaking for multitudes of your most 
sincere friends, that it is the earnest hope and expectation of 
all friends of freedom everywhere, and particularly of those 
whose present and immediate task it is to assist the liberated 
peoples of the world to establish themselves in genuine free- 
dom, that both the leaders and the peoples of the countries 
recently set free shall see to it that the momentous changes 
now being brought about are carried through with order, with 
moderation, with mercy as well as firmness, and that violence 


and cruelty of every kind are checked and prevented so that 
nothing inhumane may stain the annals of the new age of 
achievement. They know that such things would only delay 
the great things we are all striving for and they therefore con- 
fidently appeal to you to restrain every force that may threaten 
either to delay or discredit the processes of liberty/' 

In Scandinavia the propaganda work of the United States 
had a later start, but under the urging of Military Intelligence, 
Naval Intelligence, and our regular diplomatic representatives 
the need for activity was brought forcefully to Washington's 
attention. On March 18, Colonel Van Deman of MIB wrote 

". . . Following are the current expenditures for propaganda 
in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, according to figures just 
received by the General Staff. ... In Denmark, by Germany 
about $40,000 a month; by England about $2,000 a month; 
by France a little less than the English. ... In Norway Ger- 
many spends probably little less than in Denmark. In Sweden 
Germany spends much more. Sweden's domestic press propa- 
ganda is helped by German money. . . . The United States 
representatives in Scandinavia strongly urge that all possible 
support be given the Naval Attache and his assistants in 
Copenhagen, in their efforts to maintain a foreign information 
service in all the northern neutral countries. Experts and 
money should be sent." 

Naval Attache Robinette represented the CPI in Stockholm 
while the CPI was beginning its foreign work, but in April 
1918 Eric H. Palmer was appointed as regular CPI commis- 
sioner, and began using the propaganda channels already em- 
ployed in other countries. A special phase of Palmer's work, 
however, came about through the great activity in the United 
States of Edward Bjorkman in the CPI domestic Division of 
Work with the Foreign Born and the numerous contacts be- 
tween Sweden and America. On May 7 Palmer wrote Creel 
for statistics on the number of Scandinavians in our army and 


navy, the names of Swedes holding public office in the United 
States, and similar material. 

On the same day Will Irwin was cabling him from Wash- 
ington, "Will allow you $20,000 for your work with usual 
understanding that none of it shall be spent for bribing of- 
ficials, secretly influencing the press, buying space in news- 
papers, or for any other method which would not bear ex- 
posure/' Nevertheless, Palmer sent a number of suggestions 
regarding the possibility of buying certain newspapers. These 
were discouraged by the Washington office, but Bjorkman 
wrote to Palmer just before the Armistice: 

"The British have apparently made a muddle of that thing 
but we can do nothing about it. ... During the last few days I 
have been discussing with proper people here the possibility 
of directing legitimate American business advertising into 
Scandinavian countries, not for the sake of bribing or buying 
up the press, but to show that we are interested in them and 
the markets they offer us. Right through the war the Germans 
have been scattering advertising of this kind throughout the 
Swedish press. . . ." 

The film campaign was perhaps the most successful of all 
phases of CPI work in Scandinavia and the principal obstruc- 
tion to its operation came from our own Allies. Guy Croswell 
Smith, who had taken films to Russia the previous year, was 
placed in charge of all film work in Scandinavia. He wrote 
to Sisson from Stockholm on August 16, 1918: 

"We now absolutely control Scandinavia, 90 per cent of the 
films shown being American. . . . The attitude of the British 
toward films amounts almost to stupidity. They are unable to 
appreciate the propaganda value which nearly every film car- 
ries, whether commercial or official, and insist upon regarding 
them as flour, cotton or other commercial commodities. Instead 
of aiding the circulation of the Allies films they constantly put 
restrictions in their way. They had an idea that no printed or 
raw film should be permitted to come to Scandinavia for fear 
it would reach Germany where it would be used for areoplane 


[sic] wings. It has taken me two months to convince them that 
they were wrong. I had a chemical analysis made of two pieces 
of German and American film and the test showed that they 
were almost identical in composition." 

Stockholm was important not only for CPI work in Sweden 
but for that in all of Scandinavia, and in Finland and other 
Baltic regions, where the results of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty 
were anxiously watched by the Allies. Looking toward the com- 
ing peace, Bjorkman wrote to Eric Palmer on September 9, 

"What we want is, first to keep Finland from electing a 
German monarch; secondly to keep her from taking part in 
any German expedition against the Murman coast; and thirdly 
to draw her away from German control as speedily and as 
completely as possible. These aims cannot be announced pub- 
licly, but when Finlanders ask for American sympathy and 
support, it is proper to let them understand that neither can be 
had if Finland goes against our wishes along one of the three 
lines suggested above." 

In Denmark, the principal United States representative was 
Edward Riis, son of the famous Danish-American, Jacob A. 
Riis. He reported to Sisson in August 1918 that although the 
Germans had been hard at work ahead of him, "Apart from 
the Socialist and some of the radical papers, the Danish press 
is fairly disinclined to publish material from German sources." 
On August 24, however, MIB told Washington headquarters 
that the Germans were spreading news of a reported billionaire 
dinner in New York with service from plates of solid gold. The 
object, the operative related, was to hold up before all Europe 
"American capitalism in all its atrocity for the edification of 
the European laborers, and to show that American capitalists 
provoke war in order to make money." 

Sisson at once cabled Riis to get in touch with the military 
attache in Copenhagen, and Riis replied that he was aware of 
the situation but that CPI should be cautious in attempting 

to counter enemy propaganda by direct attack. He did ask, 
however, for continuation of the news service, and for more 
films and window displays. He said the CPI should "wave 
Danish flag little more and show them benefit which comes 
to Denmark by sticking with Allies." 

After conference with the attache, Riis made some addi- 
tional requests: American books for pro-Ally Danes to review 
in Danish newspapers, full orchestra sets of American music, 
and illustrated material on the Liberty Motor and the Brown- 
ing machine gun. He said that 150 newspapers were receiving 
his material and that the news agency was using his CPI daily 
dispatch. And in September the campaign was going so well 
that Riis apparently decided there had been an excess of wav- 
ing the Danish flag: he warned Sisson to tone down the praise 
of Danes in America "Looks too much like obvious propa- 
ganda." Besides, it was unnecessary: "Papers all swinging our 
way as long as we winning," he cabled on September i. 

In the Netherlands, as in Sweden and Denmark, propa- 
ganda assistance from the United States was requested by 
diplomatic and Military Intelligence agents before the CPI 
began work there. In February H. N. Rickey, CPI commis- 
sioner at London, arranged to distribute feature material in 
Holland through the British Information Service, but the 
American Minister at The Hague, John Work Garrett, re- 
ported that the news arrived so late or in such mutilated con- 
dition that the Dutch papers would not use it. He informed 
the American Embassy, London, that a daily CPI news dis- 
patch should be sent, as well as films and a special agent. 
Rickey then arranged to send Henry Suydam of the Brooklyn 
Daily Eagle to set up a CPI office in the Netherlands. Because 
of short-handedness in London, however, it was May before 
Suydam finally took his post. 

He requested editorial comment from the Dutch-language 
press of the United States on Holland-American relations and 
certain other approved items from America's German-language 
press. He also asked that Hendrik Willem Van Loon contrib- 


ute a series of special articles to a Rotterdam paper on Dutch 
settlements, and to have him visit "chief Dutch towns, es- 
pecially in Michigan, New Jersey, and Illinois/' 

Suydam wrote to Paul Kennaday, who prepared CPI for- 
eign news in New York: "To think of getting dyed-in-the-wool 
propaganda articles accepted is absurd. The articles must have 
a distinct news value ... a description of life on an American 
farm seemingly means more to these people than other things 
which you and I might deem much more interesting." 

Suydam's post at The Hague was pivotal in that the Nether- 
lands was perhaps the most important of all German sources of 
knowledge regarding America and the Allies. German corre- 
spondents would frequently send to their papers items of news 
which originally had been prepared in New York by Paul 
Kennaday. But the German correspondents knew that an 
American was at work in The Hague, and Suydam therefore 
requested the American Embassy in Paris to "get into touch 
with Dutch newspapermen in Paris through French Foreign 
Office and cultivate them so that they will telegraph American 
news to Holland." He continued, "I am especially anxious to 
get as much independent Dutch testimony about our war ef- 
fort as possible in order to translate into German for pam- 
phlets to be circulated in German army." 

While this effort for the nurturing of "independent Dutch 
testimony" was going forward, Suydam was fretful about the 
non-appearance of promised movie films, but was prosecuting 
the news campaign energetically. In this connection he worked 
closely with the British, notably the Reuters news service. A 
forecast of the worldwide communications struggle after the 
war, and of England's assumption that America would natu- 
rally wish Great Britain to have supremacy, came in a note to 
Suydam on September 22, 1918, from William J. Maloney, 
head of Reuters office in Amsterdam. The CPI news was 
reaching rival agencies from some unknown source, and 
Maloney wrote: "I should like to have another chat with you 
on the subject of giving news to agencies which are rivals of 
Reuters. The point which I should most like to impress on 


you is that every advantage given to these agencies strengthens 
them for the after-the-war competition against a purely British 

CPI work with neutrals embraced far more than Spain, 
Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands. The special 
cases of Latin America and Russia (if Russia be considered 
a neutral) will be noted later, and whole chapters could be 
written on American wartime propaganda in China and many 
other countries. But in all neutral lands the CPI agents 
discovered the same thing that the Germans were not their 
only opponents on the propaganda front. The letter from 
Maloney to Henry Suydam quoted above typifies the grave 
problem that confronted the CPI Foreign Section: if British 
and French agents did not naively assume that America's sole 
wish was to further their own political and economic ends, 
they recognized the incompatibility of President Wilson's war 
aims with their own and then proceeded to take definite steps 
to counteract the work of the CPI. 

This anti- Wilson program, later made evident in the skilful 
maneuvering of the Wilson entourage before the Peace Con- 
ference, as well as in the negotiations of the Conference it- 
self, was intensified in the fall of 1918 as the German defeat 
drew closer. A few CPI agents abroad failed to recognize it 
until the very final days of the war, though President Wilson 
himself knew through Colonel House, through General 
Pershing, and through other sources, that his victory over the 
Allies might be a harder one to win than that over the 

Chapter 13 

IN Woodrow Wilson's first political adventure, the cam- 
paign for the governorship of New Jersey, he accepted the 
help and the sponsorship of politicians of whom he cor- 
dially disapproved. During the campaign he said he was go- 
ing to do things that the political machine would not like, but 
the bosses did not worry because they knew that the college 
professor was drawing votes that way. And Mr. Wilson did not 
worry about the obviously cynical applause of the politicians, 
because he thought that once the election was won he, not 
they, would control the state. 

That was what happened, and much of his progressive pro- 
gram went through in spite of their opposition. 

But in Mr. Wilson's greatest of all political ventures the 
cards were turned the other way. He had a progressive pro- 
gram for all mankind in 1917, and he was finally persuaded 
that it could never be inaugurated unless he joined forces with 
the Allies. And the Allied governments, like the New Jersey 
bosses in 1910, cheered loudly for each of his idealistic pro- 
nouncements, while knowing full well that Wilson could never 
have what he wanted if what they conceived as their national 
interests were to be served. 

The debate of a few years ago as to whether Wilson knew 
the provisions of the Allies' secret treaties before the end of 
the war is almost unimportant in view of the full evidence 
made available by Ray Stannard Baker and many others that 
Wilson realized the Allies were with him only until the last 
shot was fired, and that then they were to be against him. 

He knew that they would be against him, but he thought 
that he could win. 


He knew that the fight would be violent, however, and it is 
reasonable to assume that he was anticipating the post-Armi- 
stice disputes of the victors when he gave his endorsement to 
the program of CPI work in the land of our Allies. It is custom- 
ary for allies to lend more or less perfunctory help to each 
other in sustaining civilian morale, but the CPI program in 
England, France, and Italy was not limited to that. The at- 
tempt was to acquaint the people of those countries with the 
war aims of America, and to gain their support, over the heads 
of their own governments, for a peace of moderation and hope, 
not a peace of vengeance and Old World nationalism. 

France, England, and the United States felt that in Italy 
they had an uncertain ally. Pre-war wobbling between Triple 
Alliance and Triple Entente did not inspire confidence in the 
first place, and by October 1917, with disaster apparently over- 
taking the Italian armies and civilian morale shaky at best, 
it was feared that Italy might soon be out of the fight. Charles 
Edward Russell wrote Creel on October 29, 1917: 

"Italy has collapsed, that is the plain truth of it, and the 
consequences that open before us are enough to sober us all 
with a good, full view of the abyss. It is of no use to try to fool 
ourselves. If Germany overruns Northern Italy, as she can 
easily now, she can strike France in the back and have both 
France and England practically licked before we can get ready 
to do any real fighting. . . . Germany could never have crushed 
Italy if Russia had stood up to the line." 

In November 19 17, as noted before, Frank J. Marion was 
dispatched on his mission to Spain and Italy, planning to 
visit the countries in that order and bearing President Wilson's 
personal warning: "Please bear in mind always that we want 
nothing for ourselves, and that this very unselfishness carries 
with it an obligation of open dealing. Guard against any effect 
of officious intrusion, and try to express a disinterested friend- 
ship that is our sole impulse." 

Italy apparently was not eager for this display of disinter- 
ested friendship, however, for on December 27 Creel received 


a message from Marion in Madrid: "American, French, and 
Italian naval attaches all think I should work Spain, postpon- 
ing Italy. Italian attache queried his government and today has 
answer from representative of propaganda: Quote Preferable 
Marion remain Spain instead of proceeding to Italy at present 

But Ambassador Thomas Nelson Page in Rome did not 
share this opinion. The State Department's paraphrase of his 
cable in the middle of January was: "The effective propaganda 
[of pro-Germans] which has been used against England is now 
extending against America, whose aims and intentions are be- 
ing misrepresented with marked results. ... As a medium of 
propaganda the Red Cross is proving excellent, as it reaches 
the people directly, but beyond this is the need of information 
for soldiers and civilian population in the form of regular news 
in newspapers, pamphlets, letters, books, lectures and motion 
pictures to create a better understanding of America's part 
in the war and her reason for being in." Page also asked for 
public speakers, especially Captain (later Major) Fiorello H. 
La Guardia, who was enjoying a thrilling sabbatical from poli- 
tics as an aerial bomber. 

On March 11, 1918, Military Intelligence informed Creel 
that the Central Powers were spending $5,000,000 a year in 
Italy. It was just four days later that Ambassador Page re- 
ceived a CPI cable advising him that Captain Charles E. 
Merriam, professor of political science at the University of 
Chicago and future president of the American Political 
Science Association, was being detached from the Red Cross 
to take charge of American propaganda work in Italy. He said 
he wished to retain the staff Page had selected in Rome. At 
the same time Professor Rudolph Altrocchi, of the University 
of Chicago, was being sent to help Merriam, and especially 
to have charge of speaking activities. Altrocchi held the posi- 
tion until the first week in October, when he was succeeded 
by Sergeant Kingsley Moses of the Air Service. 

Captain Merriam reported to Creel from Rome on April 23 
that Altrocchi and his associated speakers were making good 


progress, but that a great deal more work was needed: "Un- 
less action is taken very promptly it will not tell. Elaborate 
plans maturing late this fall or next year will probably be 
too late to do any good/' Merriam constantly urged speed 
and forceful action and, at his end, pushed many plans. He 
arranged for American visits by Italian journalists, he sent 
Italian postcards and propaganda pamphlets which the CPI 
might use as models, and he called for American photographs 
and films, including one request for 500 pictures of Wilson, 
Washington, Lincoln, and Martha Washington. 

On May 24, Merriam received a highly effective piece of 
propaganda material in the form of a special message from 
President Wilson to the people of Italy: "I am sure that I am 
speaking for the people of the United States in sending to 
the Italian people warm fraternal greetings upon this the an- 
niversary of the entrance of Italy into this great war in which 
there is being fought out once for all the irrepressible conflict 
between free self-government and the dictation of force. The 
people of the United States have looked with profound inter- 
est and sympathy upon the efforts and sacrifices of the Italian 
people, are deeply and sincerely interested in the ... security 
of Italy, and are glad to find themselves associated with a 
people to whom they are bound by so many personal and in- 
timate ties in a struggle whose object is liberation, freedom, 
the rights of men and nations to live their own lives and deter- 
mine their own fortunes, the rights of the weak as well as of 
the strong, and the maintenance of justice by the irresistible 
force of free nations leagued together in the defense of man- 

By July 2, John H. Hearley, Merriam's assistant (and later 
his successor) was able to report to the Rome office: "America 
and things American have been featured in both the editorials 
and news of this past week's press. The principal reason has 
been the arrival of the American ambulance corps at Genoa 
and the announcement of the immediate coming of American 
fighting troops from France/' A short time later one of Hear- 
ley's own propaganda ideas was carried out the visit of twen- 


ty-three wounded American soldiers of Italian extraction, who 
were honored in their home towns. 

Fourth of July saw the showing in eight theaters in Rome 
of the first CPI films, and Merriam reported that 50,000 
American flags had been distributed and widely displayed. 
Three weeks later, reports came in of the great success of the 
speaking tour of S. A. Cotillo, New York State Senator who 
was working under Altrocchi. 

Captain Merriam's idea of using picture postcards was an 
immediate success in Italy and elsewhere, for on August 13 
he wrote Creel from Rome that 2,000,000 cards were already 
allotted and 5,000,000 more could be used: ". . . there is a 
very large correspondence carried on between the soldiers 
and their families entirely by means of cards. . . . Excel- 
lent propaganda as they pass through many hands/' The 
picture and movie program was perfected when H. C. Hoag- 
land, a travelling expert for the CPI, came to Rome and helped 
the resident contingent during August. 

The Y.M.C.A. and Red Cross proved steadily cooperative 
in Italy, the latter organization providing the CPI with mail- 
ing lists of prominent Italians, as well as putting up posters 
and distributing literature. But these and the Naval Attache 
seemed to be exceptions among the various Americans in 
Rome, for Captain Merriam encountered many difficulties. 
He wrote to Creel on July 2, for instance: "There is no dis- 
guising the fact that the diplomats of career look askance at 
the COMPUB everywhere. I have done and will continue to 
do all in my power to cooperate with them cordially, but with- 
out surrendering the essential purposes for which I was sent/' 

Merriam wrote again on August 29, that a change was 
needed in either the spirit or the personnel of certain Ameri- 
can groups in Rome, and it was in response to this complaint 
that the Military Intelligence Branch on September 9 issued 
an order to all attaches that, except with relation to propa- 
ganda into enemy countries, CPI had charge of preparation 
and distribution of all propaganda material. "Military at- 
taches in particular, have ... no authority whatever to initi- 


ate propaganda nor to interfere with or criticize the work, 
methods or personnel. . . . You are to cordially assist the rep- 
resentatives of the Committee on Public Information/' 

Apparently even this order was not sufficient to end the con- 
stant difference of opinion between Captain Merriam and 
the army officers, and on September 30, MIB headquarters 
wrote to the Military Attache at Rome, "Plainly speaking, 
what we want is that you and Captain Merriam get together 
and iron out all difficulties or misunderstandings that may 
possibly exist/' 

But on October 9, George Creel advised Brigadier General 
Marlborough Churchill, head of MIB: "I am bringing Cap- 
tain Merriam home from Italy. He did a remarkable job and 
I do not know how to replace him, but whether rightly or 
wrongly he became involved in disputes with General Treat 
[major general in charge of American military mission to Italy] 
and Ambassador [Thomas Nelson] Page to such an extent 
that I deemed it wise to make a change." 

In Italy, as elsewhere, the CPI viewed with envy and some 
suspicion the activities of their French and British colleagues, 
the latter being reported as spending $400,000 a year on 
propaganda in Italy. And Hearley said on September 20, "Cer- 
tain Italian journalists are receiving monthly checks from the 
British and French Embassies." 

But most of CPFs difficulties in Italy arose from the politi- 
cal situation of the country itself, and the fact that Italian 
Socialists, probably aided by actual German Social Democrats 
or by German propagandists posing as such, regarded the 
United States as an imperialist nation and no friend of the 
workers. When Samuel Gompers reached Italy on his Euro- 
pean tour designed to inspire labor in Allied Countries, Hear- 
ley, who had succeeded Merriam as CPI representative on Oc- 
tober 4, reported: "I have . . . been occupied in making proper 
contacts for Mr. Gompers and his party. This was not imme- 
diately easy owing to the vigorous and malicious campaign 
against the president of the American Federation of Labor 

[ 290 ] 

on the part of Avanri, the anti-war organ of the Socialists 
[once edited by Benito Mussolini]/' 

And even more determined opposition came from journals 
very different from Avanri, for as far back as the previous April, 
Hearley had reported: "Individual industrials either own 
journals 'outright' or have the controlling stock in them or 
'reach' them through newspaper proprietors and stockholders 
who are either politically or industrially bound to their mo- 
nopolistic interests. Apart from their agreement on a program 
of protectionism, the trusts have plenty of superficial discords. 
It is not impossible that there will be a fight of particular 
interests after the war." 

Whatever the political commitment or economic philoso- 
phy of newspaper owners, however, certain public men have 
a way with reporters, and it is of more than passing interest 
to note this report from Captain Merriam, dated Rome, Au- 
gust 13, 1918: 

"Our best news story of the week was that given out by 
Asst. Secy. [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt. I arranged to have 
him receive the Italian journalists at the Grand Hotel and 
provided suitable refreshment! Twenty-two of our twenty- 
three invited were present, and the occasion was a great suc- 
cess. The press representatives were delighted with the frank 
statements of the Secretary, and the further fact that he in- 
vited them to ask him questions. The result was that he was 
handsomely treated by the Italian papers personally and that 
most of his remarks were printed in practically all of the 

But the final note in this brief series of quotations on the 
CPI effort in Italy should reflect the anxiety for the future 
which was felt by many of our representatives abroad. Hearley 
wrote to Creel on October 25: 

"In these confused and confusing days, amid the evasive 
declarations of the Central Powers and the hypocritical com- 
ments of the Allied governments, the thought of a well sea- 
soned politician comes back to me: 'President Wilson can win 

and will win if he has the courage and the nerve. But he has 
first to conquer the Old World's two thousand years and more 
of governmental traditions and class and political prejudices/ ' 

France did not receive major attention from the CPI until 
the winter of 1918, though of course as the chief battleground 
of the war it was occupied by intelligence officers from the 
first, and as an important European distributing center for in- 
formation, and as the source of battle news and battle pictures, 
it was at all times an important link in the CPI circuit. James 
Kerney, publisher of the Trenton (N.J.) Times and friend of 
President Wilson, was sent to Paris as resident CPI commis- 
sioner in February 1918 and promptly swung into action in 
spite of his feeling, as Mrs. Whitehouse reports it, that "there 
was a great difference between Paris and Trenton and you 
noticed it more in Paris than in Trenton." 

Kerney had difficulties of supply similar to those of other 
CPI men, movie film being the principal lack. Thanks to the 
Tuckerton-Lyons wireless dispatch and the cables, he had the 
COMPUB news service, but apparently was not uniformly 
successful in getting the French papers to use it. At least there 
is a note from Paul Kennaday to Will Irwin on March 15: 
"You will note that Figaro's only American news consists 
of a four-line announcement that Mr. Gerard has had an 
operation performed on his right eye/' 

The general propaganda condition, as it related to Ameri- 
can participation, was summed up in a message to Creel from 
Frederick Palmer, writing from Paris on March 30. 

Hatrick was "running about the Army at top speed making 
photographs. Someone cabled him to get pictures of the Ger- 
man offensive, which rather discouraged the boy, as the 
German offensive is being made entirely in British territory. . . . 
We have to be careful in our educational work just at this time 
when our soldiers are in a quiet sector not to give the im- 
pression that we are trying to substitute words and promises 
for the sacrifice of blood. ... So far as the Allied countries are 
concerned, French morale is splendid. . . . The announcement 


which was made today that our troops are at the disposal of 
the Allies to be used against the German offensive in Picardy 
is the greatest possible propaganda for Europe. We shall see 
that both Allies and neutrals have full information." 

Kerney and other CPI men in Paris were in close touch with 
MIB regarding propaganda against the Germans, in which 
undertaking MIB was the executive organization, but Kerney 
was also concerned with reaching the French people them- 
selves. In accordance with a suggestion from Irwin on March 
19, a great deal of emphasis was placed on public speaking, 
in the belief that the impact of printed propaganda was becom- 
ing less forceful all the time. Irwin wrote: 

". . . Word-of-mouth stuff is infinitely more valuable. I 
also know that the French are great on conferences, and that 
public lecturers are excellent propagandists. Much was done 
in an organized way last winter by such speakers as Herbert 
Adams Gibbons. I think you should do all you can to organize 
the Americans capable of making an acceptable speech in the 
French language, and sending them forth with the general 
ideas which we wish to implant." 

In line with this idea, Kerney was able to report back that 
Firman Roz had been engaged for a seven-weeks series of 
lectures at French universities. And later Kerney told General 
Pershing that the CPI lecture series was to open at the Sor- 
bonne on May 23. He cabled Irwin that the whole program 
had been gone over with Clemenceau, who strongly approved. 

At last, on June 26, Kerney received his first copy of the 
CPI feature film, America's Answer to the Hun, and it was 
given a preview to a private group in a Gaumont theater in 
Paris. A few days later the Comite des Forges volunteered to 
arrange showings of the movie to munitions workers in every 
part of France. Other industrialists were similarly enthusiastic, 
and in many cases a CPI lecturer went along with the films. 
Kerney reported on the joint appearance of America's Answer 
and Herbert Adams Gibbons at the motor and munitions plant 
of Louis Renault, where the speech was placed on phonograph 


"The film and lecture will thus be repeated forty times in 
the Renault factories for the benefit of 25,000 workmen. M. 
Renault said that this film and the lecture meant for him the 
postponement of any possible strike for six months. The 
Renault factories turn out aeroplane motors, motor trucks, 
tanks, cannon, and shells." 

French enthusiasm for public speaking and pictures placed 
a heavy load on the CPI Paris staff, and in September, H. C. 
Hoagland, the film expert, returned from Rome to help with 
one phase of the work, while the lecture program required ad- 
dition of other CPI speakers and a cooperative arrangement 
with established French groups. Herbert Adams Gibbons 
wrote to a friend on September 10, "Our work in France has 
grown to such proportions that we have been compelled to 
carry our lecture work through certain organizations." And 
in a note on the following day he said, "Our films will be 
shown in France exclusively by Pathe Freres and Gaumont, 
and, in connection with conferences, by the organization 'La 
Conference au Village/ ' 

Intrigue and jealousy were not unknown in Allied propa- 
ganda circles in Paris. Kerney had written to Creel on March 
23 regarding his colleagues from other countries, "They are, 
of course, very much out for themselves." Although he added 
that "The French really treat us more liberally in their news 
columns than the English," in another letter he admitted that 
"publication of any matter describing America's great efforts 
in this war is badly received by the French at the present mo- 
ment [with the German drive getting under way]." 

In one of Irwin's earlier messages to Kerney, written on 
March 19, he gave a warning regarding the complications of 
French politics: "If I were you, I should avoid the mistake of 
allowing myself to be closely connected with what we call 'the 
ex-patriot bunch' in Paris. . . . Europe is getting very radical, 
and what is whispered among the submerged classes today 
may be the dominant thought of the governing classes to- 
morrow, so even in friendly France we cannot overlook the 
working and peasant classes." 

[ 2 94 ] 

And on May 5 the CPI representative in Paris was return- 
ing comparable advice to Washington. Kerney wrote Irwin: 
"You ought to warn all missions with official or semiofficial 
status to soft-pedal on Joffre and otherwise get their bearings 
on delicate governmental situation here. Have had discreet and 
well known man attached as conducting officer to American 
Labor Mission to keep them straight on the situation which 
is very critical in some of the larger French cities." 

Apparently Hugh Gibson, on loan to the CPI from the 
American Embassy, had found new propaganda channels, for 
he sent a note to Will Irwin via the Department of State on 
April 18: "If I can feel free to spend some occasional cash to 
feed one or two people when it seems desirable I think it 
would get very good results. I don't need to tell you about 
the returns on that sort of an investment but I have never seen 
a place where such investments are more necessary or more 
repaying than here. I have been bankrupting myself trying 
to get the right sort of people lined up to help on our game but 
can't carry the whole load very long/' 

By the end of July, as the tide of battle was readying for the 
turn, the whole CPI program of news, lectures, films, and dis- 
plays was proceeding under full steam. H. N. Rickey reported 
to Washington on July 24: "With the machinery we have in 
motion, we seem to be reaching the intellectuals and the in- 
dustrial workers as well as the middle classes; about the only 
folks we don't get to are the peasants, who really are the most 
pathetic of all because all they know of the war is that their 
boys are taken off for the slaughter." 

But in spite of this success, there was work yet to be done, 
as clearly foreseen in a dispatch from A. M. Brace, head of 
the Paris office of the Wireless-Cable Service, to Walter 
Rogers: "News regarding the American steam roller, the tre- 
mendous gathering of the great industrial and military ma- 
chine set in motion by an aroused and powerful people it all 
has been invaluable, whether viewed from the standpoint of 
weakening enemy morale or bolstering the morale of the Allies. 
But we must watch out for the kick-back. I know that there 

is the belief in some quarters in France that the American 
industrial machine (and military machine) are a power that 
may some day wish to dictate terms. . . . 

"I suppose peace isn't very far off. But after the military 
battle will follow the diplomatic battle, with the old selfish 
groups in every Allied capital, working for the antebellum 
status quo, and with so-called 'practical 7 politicians and states- 
men sneering at sun-kissed diplomacy, at the ability of Poland 
and other small countries to handle their own affairs, at a new 
regime of free trade, free seas, and free accesses to the seas. 
And it impresses me that then, if ever, will be the golden hour 
of the Division of Foreign Press Cable, to hammer home 
American ideals and America's will to see them through. It 
will be a fight in the bourgeois capitals of Europe and we 
should prepare for it." 

The London office of the CPI was never stabilized, either 
as to personnel or as to program. H. N. Rickey, who later be- 
came director of the whole CPI Foreign Section, was the first 
resident commissioner, and he began work in February 1918, 
receiving the Wireless-Cable news which was picked out of 
the air on its Tuckerton-Lyons journey and forwarded to 
Rickey if everything worked properly. If the news came 
through, it was then released to the British press and an at- 
tempt made, not always successfully, to forward it to our rep- 
resentatives in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. 

When Rickey resigned "for personal and official reasons" 
in April, Charles Edward Russell, the former Socialist who 
had been helping the CPI in a number of ways, was chosen as 
his successor. However, Russell was not yet in London after 
his Russian tour with the Root Mission, and Henry Suydam, 
youthful veteran of war correspondence, was given temporary 
charge of the London office before proceeding to his own 
assignment at The Hague. 

But after Russell arrived and had been a short time at work 
he too asked to be removed from a "distasteful" situation, and 
Creel told him to turn the office over to his son, John Russell. 




Public and Private Enterprise Aid the Cause 

Above: Charlie Chaplin's "Shoulder Arms." Below: Introduction of the 

CPI's Feature "America's Answer/' Filmed by the Signal Corps 

and the Photographic Section of trie Navy 

He was succeeded almost immediately, however, by Perry 
Arnold, who in turn gave way to Paul Perry. Edgar Sisson, 
associate director of the CPI, also passed through the London 
office, and still another man entered the picture when John 
L. Balderston, expatriated American playwright (Dracula, 
Berkeley Square) , made himself responsible for getting Ameri- 
can news to the British press. Balderston was also successful in 
placing CPI feature material, notably articles by Booth Tark- 
ington, several of which appeared in The Field. 

There were other comings and goings among members of 
the staff, and although an attempt was made to turn London 
into a European distributing center for all Allied and neutral 
countries, the task was a forbidding one because of communi- 
cations difficulties. 

And the task of presenting the American story to the British 
public itself was little less difficult, perhaps chiefly because 
of the incompatibility of certain English and American war 
aims. It was obvious, for instance, that American interest in 
the freedom of the seas was not likely to arouse enthusiasm in 
the homeland of the British Navy, and even discussion of our 
modest part in naval operations might be received unkindly. 
Henry Suydam wrote Walter Rogers on April 19 that Admiral 
Sims and H. N. Rickey had previously agreed to use few 
naval stories because the "British have had almost nothing 
concerning their own naval operations, and publicity concern- 
ing ours might arouse jealousy if overemphasized." The Brit- 
ish also felt an obligation to censor our movies, according to 
word from Creel to Rickey, the information probably coming 
from MIB. 

Further, in a letter of March 5, Creel wrote Captain E. G. 
Lowry, military attache at London, that certain publications, 
consigned to neutral countries and passed by our Censorship 
Board, were being thrown out of the mails by the British cen- 
sorship. Two days later Creel was writing to Frank Polk, coun- 
sellor of the State Department, that according to our minister 
at The Hague, John Work Garrett, President Wilson's mes- 
sages and speeches, relayed through London, arrived so late 


or in such mutilated condition that the newspapers could not 
use them. And even as late as July 19, Perry Arnold, then in 
charge of the London office, reported to Walter Rogers: "Un- 
til the last few days COMPUB never saw our wireless, it be- 
ing intercepted by British Admiralty and turned over by them 
to British ministry of information, which used articles it saw 

Charles Edward Russell thought he knew a reason for Brit- 
ish lack of cooperation. He had written Creel on June 19: "I 
don't see much use in trying to cut a wide swath here any- 
way, even if it could be done. We are not getting much into 
the British papers and never will get much. . . . The British are 
not interested in bringing about a closer working understand- 
ing with America for the winning of the war only. . . . What 
they want and are all obsessed about is a permanent Anglo- 
American alliance. . . . We have had two dinners of Newspaper 
editors and proprietors for the purpose of discussing the best 
ways to make Great Britain acquainted with America's efforts 
in the war, and both have drifted off into discussions of the 
best way to form an enduring Anglo-American league to con- 
trol the world/' 

And the hopelessness of trying to gain acceptance of the 
whole American program in England was forcefully presented 
by John Balderston, who sent a message to Sisson on August 
10 presenting a scheme for counteracting the illiberalism of 
American expatriates moving in High Tory circles. In this 
cable he said that until July all that had been required was to 
cheer up British spirits, but that now, with the Allies succeed- 
ing on the battlefield, the CPI propagandists should concern 
themselves "with nothing to which all factions in this country 
do not offer lip service. . . . There exists a large imperialist 
class here that is secretly hostile to all international ideals and 
regards our policies with the deepest hatred; e.g. Curzon, 
Milner, Northcliffe, the Morning Post, indeed the whole high 
Tory party. . . . While no propaganda could do any good 
among this class, there exists a very large public in this country 
that is traditionally Tory in politics, but has been caught by 

the new liberalism of America, and hesitates, puzzled, between 
the two schools of thought. We can help to make converts in 
this class of wobblers and thus help to draw the fangs of the 
reactionaries, who boast (verbally) everywhere (I have heard 
scores of them) that after using America to win their war 
they will crush all our aims and ideals at the Peace Con- 

[ 2 99 ] 

Chapter 14 

ON June 19, 1918, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker 
wrote to President Wilson: "If I had my own way 
about Russia and had the power to have my own way, 
I would like to take everybody out of Russia except the Rus- 
sians, including diplomatic agents, military representatives, 
political agents, propagandists, and casual visitors, and let 
the Russians settle down and settle their own affairs." Mr. 
Baker acknowledged that his wish was impractical, but he 
suggests here the incredible extent to which Russia was over- 
run with the political agents and armed forces of other coun- 

Aside from the Russians themselves, split into monarchists 
and several special brands of revolutionists, there was a whole 
array of other military forces at one time or another on Rus- 
sian soil British, French, American, Japanese, German, Aus- 
trian, Czechoslovak, Roumanian, Polish. 

And the complexity of foreign interests was similarly be- 
wildering. Imperial Russia had been a member of the Triple 
Entente with England and France, and had been the first of 
the three to declare war on Germany. The Russian army failed 
to sweep down into Germany in the advertised "steam-roller' 7 
fashion, but as long as Russia was in the war Germany had to 
keep divisions on the Eastern Front, making the task of Eng- 
land, France, and Italy just that much easier in the West. The 
"Kerensky Revolution" in the spring of 1917 dethroned the 
Tsar, but both under Prince Lvov and later under Kerensky 
himself the government tried to keep on fighting for the Allies. 

The Germans, however, had permitted Lenin to return to 
Russia, correctly believing that a Bolshevik revolution would 

[ 3 ] 

put Russia out of the "imperialist war/' That is what hap- 
pened. On the night of November 7-8, 1917, the Congress 
of Soviets vested power in a Council of People's Commissars, 
with Lenin as premier and Trotsky as foreign commissar. Soon 
afterwards Trotsky invited all belligerents to conclude an 
armistice, and, after protracted and involved negotiations, the 
Bolsheviks themselves signed with Germany the treaty of 

That treaty and the events leading up to it, gave a certain 
coherence to the intervention plans of all countries, since it 
was of obvious interest to the Allies to dislodge the Bolsheviks 
from power and put a Russian army in the field again. But 
each foreign country had its own special purposes to serve. 
Dismemberment of Russia was the clear object in certain cases. 
Even among technical allies such as the Americans and Jap- 
anese suspicion if not actual antagonism was the rule. The 
Germans, while interested in extending their own influence 
to the East, were by no means friendly to Bolshevism as such; 
and some of the Allies, though opposing Bolshevism in Rus- 
sia and their own countries, would have been willing to see 
it destroy the industrial machine of the Central Powers. Mean- 
while social revolution, with all of its violence and bitter 
hatred, seethed throughout the onetime Russian Empire. 

It was in this chaotic situation that the CPI attempted to 
carry out its most ambitious and perhaps its most interesting 
foreign assignment. 

At first America had been delighted with the overthrow of 
Tsarism. The idea of another great democracy joining in the 
struggle against autocracy was attractive during pre-Bolshevik 
days in the spring and summer of 1917, and the CPI was 
one of many American agencies anxious to show its friendship 
for the new order in Russia, and to lend moral support. On 
June 18, 1917, George Creel wrote to the director of the 
Petrograd Press Bureau: 

'This letter will introduce to you Mr. Arthur Bullard and 
Mr. Ernest Poole who have been my associates here in Wash- 
ington in organizing the work of the Committee on Public 


Information and are now leaving this country to follow their 
profession as journalists in Russia. They will be writing of 
Russian affairs in some of the most important of our newspa- 
pers and reviews. I have asked them to call on you to present 
my cordial greetings. If there is any way in which the Press 
Bureaux of our two countries can cooperate, I hope that you 
will explain your wishes to them and they will report to me. 
It is our belief that the free exchange of news for the inform- 
ing of the public, made possible by the printing press and 
the newspapers, is the foundation stone of Democracy. And 
I am sure that I speak for all American newspaper men in ex- 
pressing the most hearty good wishes to the Press of Russia." 

Shortly before this, President Wilson had sent a special 
commission headed by Elihu Root, and this group arrived in 
Petrograd June 13 and left Vladivostok July 21. Trouble for 
the future might have been foreseen in an article from the 
September 1917 issue of the Petrograd Commune, which 
Naval Intelligence sent to Creel. The paper referred to the 
"commission formed of prominent and well known million- 
aires, bankers and capitalists, as Elihu Root, [Cyrus H.] Mc- 
Cormick, [Charles R.] Crane, [John R.] Mott, [Samuel R.] 
Bertran and other parasites ... to acclaim the rising of the 
Russian nation. . . . To mask the capitalistic lot of the com- 
mission, serving as a lightning rod, were the leader of the 
American Labor Federation, Jas. Duncan, and the 'prominent 
socialist/ Charles E. Russell." 

Charles Edward Russell himself wrote to Creel on October 
29, explaining at length his estimate of the whole situation: 
"Russia would never have daddled around about the war if 
there had been efficient publicity work last summer. There 
would have been efficient publicity work last summer if the 
Commission had insisted upon it. ... We knew perfectly well 
what was needed. We had been on the ground and we knew. 
. . . Two or three things ... are absolutely essential to us 
in Russia. 

"First, the cable news service distributed through the Rus- 
sian news agency will do very little good. Few Russian papers 


take it. What is needed is a complete news bureau of our 
own with a service that all the papers will take and publish. 
We need a force of men in Russia to get up and distribute 
the kind of matter that will stir Russia to fight. . . . We need 
a cut and editorial service like the N.E.A. We need handbills 
and dodgers. We need an immense film service at work now 
in every part of Russia. ... If the United States had begun 
in July when we wanted it to begin and had spent $10,000,000 
on publicity in Russia it would have been the best investment 
it ever made. . . . The commission, merely by being too re- 
gardful of etiquette and position, made a hash of this part 
of its work. . . . Don't you make any such blunder. . . . Get 
your men out, get something started. ... I tell you frankly 
that if Russia is not aroused this winter it will not be aroused 
at all and the game is up so far as it is concerned." 

Even before receipt of that letter, however, Creel had writ- 
ten on October 24, 1917, to Colonel William B. Thompson, 
head of the American Red Cross Mission to Russia, that 
President Wilson had turned over to the CPI the formal re- 
port of the Root Mission, and had asked Creel to take charge 
of publicity work in Russia. The letter was carried by Edgar 
Sisson, associate chairman of the CPI, who, after personal 
conference with Mr. Wilson, was dispatched to Petrograd. 
"Mr. Sisson," wrote Creel, "with full authority, is acting on 
the scene for us." 

But while Sisson was en route, the Bolshevik Revolution 
took place, and on November 9 Creel was telegraphing to 
Bullard in Petrograd: "Handle Russian situation firmly stop 
United States hoping Petrograd local disturbance unaffecting 
great freedom-loving Russian people stop Trusting nation to 
understand that the Bolsheviki success menaces revolution 
and invites return autocracy stop Russian and Italian situation 
only nerves America to greater determination, creating more 
solemn realization of greatness of task and arousing sterner 
determination stop America at war for certain great funda- 
mental principles and neither reverse nor desertion will cause 
surrender stop Only possible peace based on justice with guar- 


antees of permanence stop Give this as coming from high of- 
ficial sources/' 

Dullard, however, was having his own difficulties, and, a 
week after Creel's message, was informing the CPI from Mos- 
cow: "For a week we have been marooned in the consulate, 
most of the time without any telephonic communication. The 
only papers now issued are the revolutionary ones. They do 
not have any general news." 

More discouragement came to Creel from Ernest Poole, 
then back in New York, who wrote on November 20: "If the 
present extreme government stays in power, there will be lit- 
tle use in sending over many war items. Of course, we hope 
for a more moderate government. But in either case, as Bui- 
lard and I both discovered, the main thing they want to know 
about us is what kind of a nation we have tried to build . . . 
especially in the last few years." One of the few rays of hope 
came from Albert J. Nock, who told Creel on November 26 
that there was good stuff in the Slavs if America could under- 
stand them, "and it is conceivable that they may succeed, 
after a fashion, in doing something important." 

Bullard was instructed to get the widest possible distribu- 
tion for the daily news dispatch (which was now coming by 
wireless from Lyons) , but he himself was worried lest the 
United States might be forced into recognizing the Bolshevik 
regime. He warned, however, that: "Our refusal to recognize 
. . . should be based on sound democratic grounds, not on 
distaste for their fantastic social experiments." 

Meanwhile, Sisson had reached Petrograd on November 
25, and on December 2 Creel advised him: "Drive ahead full 
speed regardless expense stop Coordinate all American agen- 
cies in Petrograd and Moscow and start aggressive campaign 
stop Use press billboards placards and every possible medium 
to answer lies against America stop Make plain our high mo- 
tives and absolute devotion to democratic ideals. . . . Engage 
speakers and halls. . . . Cable if send motion pictures." 

Without waiting for a reply on that last point, Creel dis- 
patched a reported 500,000 feet of film via Sweden, only to 

[ 34 ] 

learn a few days later that the frontier was closed. Sisson him- 
self reported from Petrograd on December 22 that the 
news was not coming through either by wireless or cable, 
but that a million copies of President Wilson's speech to 
Congress had been printed and that CPI offices in both Petro- 
grad and Moscow were in operation under the respective di- 
rectorship of Graham Taylor, Jr., who had a background of 
work in the German prison camps of Russia, and Read Lewis, 
special assistant to the American Ambassador and former 
relief administrator in Russia. 

On December 30 Bullard announced from Moscow that 
300,000 posters and handbills had been lost in transit, but 
that the first number of the CPFs Russian News-Letter would 
be ready shortly, and that he wanted to open new CPI offices 
"in Rostov on the Don in the South ... in Kiev in the Ukraine, 
and later one or two in Siberia." 

But Russia was no easy place for operations of this sort, 
as Bullard feelingly told Creel: "Besides decreeing that all 
the world shall ride in box cars, the Bolsheviki have closed all 
the banks. There is a great fight on between the financiers and 
the de facto government. By refusing to operate under the 
new regulations the bankers hope to bring on a revolt against 
the Bolsheviki. If the banks are closed no one can cash checks 
and no one can draw money to meet his payroll. This, the 
bankers hoped, would make the Proletariat mad at the Bolshe- 
viki, but on the contrary it seems to make them all the madder 
against the Bourgeoisie. I have about 7,000 roubles in the 
safe here, which I drew out yesterday, just before the axe 
fell. ... It is unfortunate that we did not get started sooner, 
so that our organization might have been on its feet/' 

Still unsuccessful in the effort to get CPI films into Russia, 
Creel tried a new device. On December 31 he wrote Hugh 
Gibson of the State Department that Herman Bernstein, 
New York Herald correspondent, was going to Russia osten- 
sibly merely as a reporter but actually "to serve the Commit- 
tee in our publicity division in Petrograd." The films which 
Bernstein carried were "not propaganda in any sense of the 


word, but are merely a frank presentation of American life in 
its various aspects." 

A possibly boastful summary of CPI accomplishments in 
Russia through December and January was given in a letter 
which Creel wrote on February 5, 1918, to R. G. Hutchins, 
Jr., of the National Bank of Commerce, New York: "We are 
working through three mediums. The printed word one thou- 
sand words a day of cable service and feature service, con- 
sisting of short articles from a hundred to a thousand words, 
illustrated by photographs and sent by mail the motion pic- 
ture, showing the social, industrial, and war progress of the 
United States, and outdoor advertising. Sisson has practically 
every theater in Petrograd and Moscow for the exhibition of 
our motion pictures. He has over fifty thousand billboards in 
the cities, he circularizes the German prison camps to the 
extent of millions, and on the Russian Front and on the Rou- 
manian Front, we are using aeroplanes for a systematic bom- 
bardment of the enemy lines, and enemy country, with special 
literature specifically designed to encourage revolt against the 
military clique." 

Unfortunately for the CPI, the signs of this revolt were not 
pronounced in Petrograd, and the German army was approach- 
ing the city, following Russian hesitancy about signing the 
treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Sisson cabled on February 23: "in 
contingency of German entry plans made to transfer a part 
of equipment to Vologda on Embassy train, sending [Graham] 
Taylor. In same contingency Moscow office will go with 
[Maddin] Summers to Samara. Billiard has developed practi- 
cal idea of greeting Germans if they ever arrive Petrograd with 
billposted copies President's messages of February 8 and Feb- 
ruary 1 1 in German. Copies ready. Bill posters keen for job. 
Germany's new and increased peace demands received today." 

On February 28 came the report that the American Em- 
bassy, consulate, military mission, and Red Cross mission had 
left for Vologda two days before, and on March 8 Bullard 
cabled from Petrograd: "Sisson left last night via Finland 
stop We stay as long as possible then move base to Moscow." 

Sisson did not leave the country without difficulty, however, 
and a possible reason for this was suggested in his message to 
Creel from Norway on April 8: "I have in my possession docu- 
ments proving completely and conclusively that the German 
government not only created the government of Bolshevik 
commissars, but that during the whole farcical negotiations 
for peace this government was operated by the German Gen- 
eral Staff." More attention will be given to these documents 
later in the chapter. 

Herman Bernstein arrived in Petrograd on March 11, but 
minus the movies, and to remedy the situation the CPI sent 
Guy Croswell Smith to Helsingfors to see if the films could 
be shipped by boat. Smith had originally gone to Russia tak- 
ing D. W. Griffith movies on behalf of the Department of 
State, but he was now made CPI cinema director for Russia. 

Shortly after reporting the movie difficulties, Bullard asked 
for a 5o,ooo-word popular history of the United States, trans- 
lated into Russian, and on April 13 he cabled to Sisson, by 
that time in London on his way home, begging his help in 
persuading Washington to give more support to the Russian 

"It is not impossible that diplomatic relations will be broken 
off with former Allies but I do not consider this likely. . . . 
Smith informs me by cable that he is coming with films, but 
I have notified him that the route by Archangel is difficult 
and unsuited to his purpose. . . . [William Adams] Brown 
and [Malcolm] Davis are in Western Siberia and Taylor is in 
Petrograd. The remainder are at Moscow in good health. . . . 
The censorship of the press becomes increasingly strict and 
in addition there is further suppression of provincial papers. 
We must therefore depend mainly on our own pamphlets and 
bulletins. . . . Please inform me immediately when you expect 
to reach Washington. I look to you to push my request for 
material and recruits." 

But Sisson feared that the Bolsheviks would hold Bullard 
as a hostage, and the following cable went from Will Irwin in 


Washington to Billiard by a special ambassador's code on 
April 24: 

"On information and advice from Sisson who understands 
aspect of situation of which you are probably ignorant and 
with endorsement of Creel you and your American assistants 
ordered immediately and with all possible secrecy to leave for 
the present all territory controlled by Bolshevild stop Leave 
your Russian assistants in control of office for the present and 
report final whereabouts pending orders stop Should by all 
means be out of Bolsheviki territory by about May 5." 

Bullard obeyed the order, withdrawing to Archangel, but 
under protest, as this May 6 cable suggests: "I cannot imagine 
the facts to justify this move stop Unless some of us at least 
are allowed to return to Moscow at once the continuation of 
the work we have developed will be impossible stop Luckily 
the holidays give some cover to our absence for a few days but 
it will soon be noticed and we will have seemed to run away 
from charges which have not been made." 

When five more days had passed, Bullard tried once again: 
"We have received no news which gives slightest reason for 
believing any danger in returning to Moscow stop [Read] 
Lewis, [George] Bakeman and [Otto] Glaman at least are in 
no way involved in Sisson's anti [Bolsheviki] activities stop 
Lewis, Bakeman and [Graham] Taylor have diplomatic com- 
missions from Lansing." 

And still again, on May 13: "Our withdrawal seems ex- 
pression of guilty conscience. This is the only organization en- 
gaged in placing the liberal democratic viewpoint of the Allies 
before Russia and our withdrawal means that it is scrapped. 
Its work must be the foundation of any successful Allied policy 
in Russia. ... It will be impossible to act intelligently with- 
out further orders. Please reply at once, care of the American 
Consul at Archangel, stating the reasons for the order of with- 
drawal and the nature of danger, so that we can return to work 
or understand why it is necessary to wreck it." 

[ 308] 

After BullarcTs withdrawal, Russian assistants had carried 
on the CPI work, but: "We cannot leave the work to any 
Russian. Mr. [Consul Maddin] Summers' death has made it 
impossible to turn it over to the Consulate General without 
help/' And the Consulate General told Bullard, "Hope to see 
you or in any case [Read] Lewis back here soon/' 

Eventually, permission came, and Read Lewis returned to 
Moscow on June 22, finding DeWitt Clinton Poole, the young 
consular officer in charge, anxious to continue publicity in 
place of the CPI if the Committee itself did not wish to 
stay. Lewis wished to remain, but on September 2 the Bolshe- 
viks closed down the CPI office, and Lewis cabled from Stock- 
holm on August 26 that he had left Moscow in company with 
practically all Americans then remaining in Bolshevik Russia, 
the exception being Poole who, for the sake of Allied solidarity, 
stayed in Moscow until the British and French representatives 
were ordered to leave. 

Lewis wanted to go back to Moscow once more, or at least 
to establish a base at Ekaterinburg in back of the Czechoslo- 
vak (anti-Bolshevik) lines, but he was ordered to Archangel 
where, at last, CPI films were available and Peishings Cru- 
saders and America's Answer were shown to audiences on the 
shores of the Arctic Ocean. 

Guy Croswell Smith at Stockholm was also impatient, and 
was told by Sisson from Washington on August 29: "Keep 
on the job in spite of any homesickness you may have. I need 
you where you are. I am planning for you too, and at your 
need will send you an assistant to break in. This is prepara- 
tion for the time when you may be able to join forces with 
the Russian group, which now is a large party of sixteen or 
eighteen persons, still under Bullard, prepared to work its way 
through Siberia as fast as it can open up stations. I hope some 
members of it will be operating offices in Irkutsk and Chita 
this winter." 

This message introduces the Siberian phase of the far-flung 
CPI venture in Russia. As early as March 4, 1918, Major C. H. 
Mason of Military Intelligence had informed Creel: "The 

[ 39 ] 

urgent necessity for a systematic effort to combat prejudices 
in the minds of Siberians against Americans is pressed upon 
the administration by American officials in the Far East. . . . 
The people there refer to the coldness of Americans, their 
aloofness and their failure to understand Russians. . . . Defi- 
nite suggestions are made that the needs of the United States 
there are: full discussion in the newspapers, lectures on Amer- 
ican affairs and personal contact with the people. The names 
of organizers are suggested to engage the corps of Russian 
teachers who are close to the people and pay them to deliver 
lectures on the war. The expenditures are described as insig- 
nificant and the results predicted as of great importance." 

Operations in Siberia had both military and political impli- 
cations. A force of 50,000 or more Czechoslovaks, largely 
Austrian soldiers who had deserted or been imprisoned in Rus- 
sia, had formed a Czech Legion, just as Yugoslav Legions had 
been assembled from other Austrian prisoners in Italy, as 
noted in Chapter XIII. After the revolution, the Czechs in 
Russia started with a supposed Bolshevik safe-conduct for the 
Pacific Ocean. Squabbles with local Soviets over food supplies 
and right-of-way for trains soon developed into something 
more serious, and by June the Czechs were fighting the Bol- 
sheviks openly, with their force strung out in detachments 
along several thousand miles of railway from Kazan to Vladi- 
vostok. By the end of July large sections of Siberia were under 
the control of the Czechs or of various anti-Bolshevik gov- 
ernments; and foreign intervention in support of the Czechs, 
and of a great variety of White Armies, was becoming an 
important reality. When Chita was captured on September 6, 
1918, organized Bolshevik government east of the Urals 
seemed to have disappeared. 

American intervention in Siberia (which was distinct from 
our participation in the Allied landing at Archangel and Mur- 
mansk) , was not dictated solely by America's genuine sym- 
pathy for Czechoslovak nationalism and our wish to see the 
Czechs fight their way back home, but also by eagerness to 
keep an eye on some of our Allies, especially the Japanese. 

As the situation in the heart of western (Bolshevik) Russia 
had become more and more untenable for the anti-Bolshevik 
CPI in the winter of 1918, Arthur Bullard had prepared to 
shift his base to the east, reporting to Creel on March 11 
that he was ready to send Malcolm W. Davis and William 
Adams Brown to Siberia. 

Then, on March 22, Colonel R. H. Van Deman of Military 
Intelligence advised the CPI: "Siberia is now our last hope 
on the Eastern Front, and it is there that we can work with 
reasonable security. I suggest that you send at once a pub- 
licity agent to Siberia to establish a newspaper etc." On that 
very day Will Irwin cabled Bullard in Petrograd: "Go ahead 
establishing yourself in Harbin if Moscow becomes untenable 
stop If you need assistance in men wire designating how many 
and what sort and we will send them as we have many volun- 
teers here." 

To facilitate the work in the Orient, the American consul at 
Harbin was authorized to spend $5,000, to be charged against 
the CPI, and on July 9 Malcolm Davis reported: "Propaganda 
for America and the Allies can certainly be carried on in 
Harbin. Most of the people are with us anyway; and there is 
no real opposition. Our news is at once taken up by all of the 
daily papers; and the motion pictures go well. It all may con- 
ceivably have some influence toward creating friendly rela- 
tions for Americans in Siberia and Russia after the war. It is, 
however, too far from the real field to have any effect upon the 
issue of the war itself, unless there is a great change in the 
circumstances here." 

Bullard had crossed the Atlantic after leaving North Rus- 
sia, and in August was at Victoria, British Columbia, prepar- 
ing to go to Vladivostok. As he left Canada, he urged that a 
second CPI party follow him, bringing movie films, especially 
Intolerance, Hearts of the World, The Birth of a Nation, and 
anything starring Theda Bara, Geraldine Farrar, or Mary Pick- 
ford. Pending Bullard's arrival in the Orient, Davis and Brown 
were using such films as they had, and were distributing CPI 
news, received via the wireless on the U.S.S. Brooklyn. 

When Dullard reached Tokyo he was apparently impressed 
anew with the vagueness of Allied objectives in Siberia, for 
he wrote Sisson on September 11: "We are rather in the posi- 
tion of advertising something and not knowing what it is. 
Buy it! Buy it! What is it? We don't know, but we are sure 
it will do you good." Bullard also realized that American in- 
terest in Japan's activities in Asia was reciprocated. He and 
Ambassador Roland S. Morris visited the Japanese Foreign 
Office, with the result that a Japanese was assigned to work 
with the CPI. As Bullard said, it would "save our ally a large 
expense in espionage. And as my work will be watched care- 
fully, I would much rather have the guy inside looking out 
than outside looking in." 

Units of the CPI were started westward (toward Bolshe- 
vik territory) from Vladivostok, and Professor William 
Fletcher Russell began active CPI educational work in Eastern 
Siberia. He asked for more and more films, dealing with agri- 
culture, industry, mining, forestry, and fisheries. 

By the end of 1918, plans had been completed for estab- 
lishing CPI offices at Chita, Irkutsk, and Omsk, with Franklin 
Clarkin of the Boston Transcript, George Bakeman, and 
Robert Winters as the respective directors. 

On November 5, Bullard received word from Sisson: "If 
Germany accepts armistice terms, Committee work of news 
distribution in foreign countries will still continue . . . through- 
out peace conference. . . . Keep your news-distributing or- 
ganization at high pitch of efficiency." During December ac- 
tual improvement in the news service was reported, with con- 
nections established with Rusta, the Siberian government 
agency, and news reaching Omsk both by wireless from Lyons 
and by COMPUB wire from Vladivostok. The result was 
"as good as could be expected in these unsettled conditions, 
and the reports from our men along the line show steady im- 
provement." To Chita and more remote points the service was 
carried in cooperation with the Czechs. 

While the Siberian unit of the CPI was thus extending its 
lines, Read Lewis at Archangel was aided by the arrival of 

Harry Inman, who arranged with the educational department 
of the Russian Cooperative Union, a powerful organization, 
for wider showing of the CPI films. 

Arthur Bullard at Vladivostok, however, was in poor health, 
and by the end of December turned the office over to Phil 
Norton. Norton's summary of the Siberian work of his prede- 
cessor was that Bullard, with a skeleton organization, had 
covered all possible lines of communication as far as Ekater- 
inburg and Cheliabinsk without "even the good will of the 
people, opinions to the contrary in the United States notwith- 

Norton's effort to expand Bullard's work was terminated 
abruptly on February 4, 1919 when he received this cable from 
H. N. Rickey, in charge of the CPI Foreign Section: "Begin 
demobilizing all activities under your jurisdiction at once stop 
Make adequate arrangements with consuls for distribution all 
pamphlets etcetera which are left over or which arrive after 
you leave stop This includes Russian translation Sisson's Bol- 
shevik pamphlets which are being shipped this week addressed 
to American Consul Vladivostok stop Also arrange with con- 
suls for continued distribution presidential communications 
and such other cable and wireless news as may be sent. . . . 
Cable at once film situation. . . . Bring with you to Wash- 
ington complete files and final accounts/' 

The American vice-consul at Ekaterinburg wrote to Wil- 
liam Adams Brown, CPI head in that place: "It has been a 
great surprise and in some ways a discouragement to learn 
that the work of the Committee on Public Information is sud- 
denly stopped in our territory. When this work first started 
I was not very optimistic as to its influence but since I have 
learned further of the ideas involved and the manner in which 
it was intended to carry them out I have come to thoroughly 
believe in it. ... I personally was in hope that this work 
would be continued through the troubled times and gradually 
connected up with and fused into the commercial end with 
whatever organization might be established, and have felt sure 
that the friends you have made and the larger number you 

certainly would have made would have become one of the 
greatest buying fields for American products that has ever 
been known. It certainly seems a pity to drop this valuable 
work just at the most critical moment." 

Bullard, also, was opposed to cessation of the work, but the 
best the CPI headquarters could offer was the State Depart- 
ment's promise that consular officials would continue dis- 
tributing CPI material as long as the supply lasted. The Rus- 
sian adventure of the CPI seemed to be at an end. 

But actually, one activity of the Russian section was des- 
tined to influence the thinking of Americans and Russians for 
many years to come. The so-called "Sisson Documents" which 
the associate chairman of the CPI brought back with him 
from Petrograd in the spring of 1918, and which the CPI pub- 
lished in the fall of that year, are capable of arousing lively 
debate even today. 

The controversy which has raged about this fascinating ma- 
terial has enlisted the emotions and the polemical energy of 
many people. Only a master of several languages, of Russian 
and German history, and of the science of manuscript study 
should attempt to pass judgment on the charge of forgery 
which started the commotion in the first place. But as part 
of the history of the CPI the controversy itself must be at 
least reported. 

Edgar Sisson obtained the documents in Petrograd under 
dramatic circumstances which he describes in his book 100 Red 
Days, published in 1931. Sisson accepted the documents in 
good faith as proving that "the present Bolshevik government 
is not a Russian government at all but a German government 
acting solely in the interests of Germany and betraying the 
Russian people, as it betrays Russia's allies, for the benefit of 
the Imperial German Government alone." 

Sisson's report was in President Wilson's hands on May 9, 
1918. Presumably with Wilson's approval, the "Sisson Docu- 
ments" were released to the papers on September 15. Nearly 
everyone took them at face value, as indicated by the New 
York Times headline, but the New York Evening Post head- 


line of a few days later shows that opinion was not perfectly 

jfoming fogt fc Near jgrk 



DnAltN rUnucmco 

Creel Committee's Russian Bevela- 

tions, He Asserts Were Re* 

vived After Inquiry and 



Communications Between Ber- 
ment Given Out by Creel.* 

On September 16 the Post (with the interest of the edi- 
torial writer, Henry Alsberg, who has recently been director 
of the WPA Writers Project) charged that the Sisson mate- 
rial had been published in Paris months earlier and had "on 
the whole been discredited." The charges were renewed on 
the following day, and alluded to briefly once more on Sep- 
tember 18. Then on September 21 came the most important 
of the Post's attacks, the statement from Santeri Nuorteva, 
who described himself as head of the Finnish Information 
Bureau of New York. 

Nuorteva said that the documents had been first delivered 
to Raymond Robins (the Red Cross administrator with whom 
Sisson had had a well publicized feud in Russia) , and that 
"Mr. Robins, assisted by William B. Thompson and Mayor 
T. Thatcher, all of whom were connected with the American 
Red Cross, investigated the truth of the statements made in 
the documents and decided they were forgeries/' Even Sisson, 
Nuorteva said, was at first convinced of their falsity. No re- 
sponsible critic, it should be added, has suggested that Mr. 

Sisson had anything to do with the forgery if forgery there 
was. He merely secured the documents and brought them to 

In Sisson's book, 100 Red Days, he declares that Nuorteva 
was brought to Washington on September 23, 1918, and "ex- 
amined by me/' He admitted, again according to Sisson, "that 
he had no personal knowledge upon which to base any such 
accusations/' and that he had not even met two of the three 
Red Cross men whom he quoted. Thompson and Thatcher 
denied knowing Nuorteva; and Raymond Robins, when found 
by a reporter in Arizona, said he was under State Department 
orders not to talk. 

Although Nuorteva was regarded as a Bolshevist sympa- 
thizer, and therefore an incompetent witness, his charges had 
made sufficient headway to require answer. Mr. Creel decided 
to place the matter in scholarly hands, and at his request the 
National Board for Historical Service undertook to investigate 
the documents. Their committee for this purpose was com- 
posed of Professor Samuel N. Harper, experienced Univer- 
sity of Chicago student of Russian language and history, and 
J. Franklin Jameson, managing editor of the American His- 
torical Review and later chief of the manuscript division of 
the Library of Congress. 

This committee, after study of the papers and interrogation 
of Mr. Sisson, decided in favor of authenticity for the great 
majority of the sixty-eight documents, though pointing out 
significant peculiarities which cast at least some doubt on some 
of them. 

With the report of the National Board for Historical Ser- 
vice, the "Sisson Documents" were published by the CPI as 
The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy, pamphlet No. 20 in the 
War Information Series, and over 137,000 copies were issued. 

By the great majority of Americans they were accepted as 
proving not only German connivance in the Bolshevik Revo- 
lution (which connivance nearly everyone was prepared to 
grant on the grounds of reasonableness if not actual proof) 

but also that Lenin and Trotsky were serving only a German 
cause. Sisson, in addition to other defense of his work in 
100 Red Days, adduces 31919 affidavit by Eugenie P. Semenov 
through whom he obtained the documents, explaining how 
they were secured with the help of spies in offices of the Bol- 
shevik government. 

But many attacks have been made on the documents, and 
perhaps the most usual current attitude of scholars is repre- 
sented by the statement of Frederick L. Schuman in American 
Policy Toward Russia Since 1917, published in 1928. "They 
were pronounced forgeries by Soviet representatives soon after 
their appearance and have been regarded as such since, even 
in many anti-Bolshevist circles. . . . While perhaps not en- 
tirely spurious, they show many evidences of crude fabrication 
and their genuineness is most questionable/' 

The vast majority of comments on The German-Bolshevik 
Conspiracy, however, are of interested authorship. A new ex- 
ample has just come to light in the Library of Congress among 
some material turned over to the library many years ago when 
the Kerensky embassy in Washington closed. Dr. Nicholas R. 
Rodionoff, chief of the Slavic division of the library, who 
brought this document to the attention of the authors, be- 
lieves it may be a unique copy, at least in America. It was 
printed in Russian at Vladivostok in 1921, bearing the title 
Historical Forgery: American Forged Documents, by B. A. 
Panov. He was a former officer of the Imperial Russian Navy 
and implicated in Documents 9 and 29 of the Sisson collec- 
tion. His motives, therefore, are not above suspicion, but his 
arguments, which he says he presented without effect to the 
American consul at Vladivostok, are at least superficially im- 

Much more significant than the Panov brochure, however, 
was a letter of September 20, 1918 (more than a month before 
publication of The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy though 
after the newspaper instalments had appeared) from Philip 
Patchin of the State Department to George Creel: 


The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy 



Special Reprwntatic* in Ruuia of tht Committe. on PubUe Information In th Wlnttr of 191LU 


Three groups of documents are sub- 
jected to internal analysis in the material 

NOTE. The Russian Council of Peo- 

that follow?. One group consists of origi- 
nals, one group consist* of photographs of 
documents believed still to be in the file 
rooms of the Russian Bolsheviki, and the 
third (Appendix I) of typewritten circulars 
that have not been traced to their origi- 
nal* except perhaps in the ca.-c of two 
of the number. The chief importance of 
Hie third group is that its appearance in- 
.-|)ircd the effort* that led to the uncover- 
ing of the other groups. And they fit into 
(he fabric of the whole. 

The first set of these appendix circulars 
came into my hads on February 2, in 
Petrograd. An additional set appeared 
the following day at an office where I fre- 
quently called. A third appeared in an- 
other quarter a day afterwards. One set 
was in Russian and two in English. On 
February 5 I held all three sets. A pos- 
sible explanation for their appearance at 
this time and their intent is given in Ap- 
pendix I. 

By themselves they were plausible but 

Authorized by the Commissar for 
Foreign Affaire. 



pie's Commissars vat dominated by the 
president, Vladimir Ulianov (Lenin); the 
then foreign minuter, Leon Trotsky, new 
war minister; and the ambassador to Ger- 
many, A. Jnfje. The marginal indorse- 
ment in writing is: "To the secret department. 
B. U." This is the fashion in which Lenin 
is accustomed to initial himself. The English 
equivalent would be V. I'., for Vladimir 
llianov. So, ei-en if there eiitled no further 
record of German Imperial Bank order No. 
7433. here would be the proof of its contents, 
nnd here is the link connecting Lenin directly 
u-ith his action and his guilt. The content 
matter of the circular exists, hoircrer, and 
herewith follows: 

Order of the 2d of March, 1917, of the 
Imperial Bank for the representatives of all 
German banks in Sweden: 

Notice is hereby given that requisition for 
money for the purpose of peace propaganda 
in Russia will be received through Finland. 
These requisitions will emanate from the 

Trotsky, Sumenson, Koslovsky, Kollontai, 
Sivers. and Merkalin, accounts for whom 
have been opened in accordance with our 
order No. 27.54 in the agencies of private 
German businesses in Sweden, Norway, and 
Switzerland. All these requests should 

not substantiated. Having first performed following: Lonin, Zinovieff, Kameneff, 

the obvious duty of analyzing them for ' "-'- - * '- - 

surface values and transmitting them and 
the analyses to Washington, I turned, 
therefore, to the task of further investi- 

It is not vet possible to name those 
who helped, but in three weeks' time the 
judgment of facts became apparent. 

The text of the documents discloses both 
the methods and the effects of the Ger- 
man conspiracy not alone against Russia 
but the world. With each document is 
the indication of whether it is an original 
or photograph. With each document is an 
interpretative note. 

bear one of the two following signature*: 
Dirshau or Milkenberg. With either o 
the! signature* the requests of the above- 
mentioned persons should be complied with 
without delay. 7433, IMPERIAL BAHK. 

/ have not a copy of this circular nor a 
photograph of it, but Document A'o. S, next 
in order, proves its authenticity at once 
curiously and absolutely. Particular interest 
attaches to this circular because of BoUhenk 
public denial of Us existence. It wot one of 
several German circulars published in Paris 
in the "Petit Parisien" last winter. The 
Petrograd Bolshevik papers proclaimed it a 
falsehood. Zalkind, whose signature appears 
not only here but on the protocol (Document 
\o. S), was an assistant foreign minister. 
He was sent in February on a mission 
outside of Russia. He was in Ckristiania 
in April when I was there. 

Hait photograph of the letter. 



[rat] Gl 

ten] Burau. Section 


February 12, 1918. 

To THE CHAIRMAN or THE Corwcn, or 
The Intelligence Bureau has the 


form you that there 


People'* Commisaarr for Foreign Affaira. 

(Very Secret) 

Prtrograd. November 1C, 1917 
To THE CHAIRMAN or THE Corvni. 07 


In accordance with the resolution 
passed by the conference of People's 
Commk<ar<, Comrades Lenin, Trot- 
sky, PodvoLsky, Dybenko, and Volo- 
darsky, the following has been exe- 
cuted by us: 

1. In the archives of the Ministry 
of Justice from the dossier re "trea- 
oo" of Comrades Lenin, Zinovieff, 
Koslovsky, Kollontai and others, has 
been removed the order of the Ger- 
man Imperial Bank, No. 7433, of the 
second of March, 1917, for allowing 
money to Comrades Lenin, Zinovien, 
Kameneff, Trotsky, Sumenson, Kos- 
lovsky and others for the propaganda 
of peace in Russia. 

2. There have been audited all the 
books of the Nia Bank at Stockholm 
containing the accounts of Com. 
radea Lenin, Trotsky, Zinovieff, and 
others, which were opened by the 
order of the German imperial Bank 
No. 2754. These books have been 
delivered to Comrade Mullrr, who 
waisentfrom Bvrlin 

G. G.-S. 


*r */ 

Jeapiw 1918 r. t/ J (J 

stT* Kapoi 

*2 ftapu* 

PasBiAOHHO* 0*AinH! nteri <iec cooCcsti. *rt 

y apecTMaoaro xan. KomiHa AM rapsta- 
ixi AoxyneRTa c* novitKani neunenun I!efp6rpr> 
ro Oxpamiaro OrxlxeHlx, npeACTauiAiot* coUca aon- 
Dpucau lanepcxara Eama ta V 7433 on a 2*j>- 
a 181? POX* 081 cncpxTli CISTOBI rr. 
KoJtoicxoM7, tposxoiiT spyriu'i 
iponaraixy ip, to opAepy InepcKaro Ecupea t, 

dro OTxpHTl* xmauBatn. <TO >e flan eaoeapciKi. 

o npiura Mipa w jnmoxtHit oina 

Number 2 

First Page of the "Sisson Documents" Pamphlet 

"The Secretary directs me to send you the following para- 
phrase . of a telegram from Ambassador Page, contained in 
the Embassy's No. 2044, September 19, 8 p.m.: 

"The Ambassador states that he had learned that the British 
War Office had received from a War Office agent named 
Maclaren the same photographic copies that were taken to 
America by Sisson. He adds that the War Office, the Foreign 
Office, the Postal Censor and the Admiralty examined the 
material carefully and in a general way reached the decision 
that the documents which appeared to be genuine were old 
and not of any particular value, and those which had propa- 
ganda value were of a doubtful character. He says that, for 
instance, Dansey (Major Dansey, British Military Intelligence 
Service) , who had just been to see him, and who is the only 
one with any knowledge of the matter whom he had been able 
to see since he received the Department's telegram, said that 
very careful tests were made by the Postal Censor, who found 
that the same typewriting machine, with the same faults, must 
have been used to type original documents coming from dif- 
ferent offices or sections of the same city. Dansey also said 
that one Bauer, who is supposed to have signed several docu- 
ments, never wrote his name the same way. The inference 
from this is that all or most of his alleged output are forgeries. 
Dansey added further that Maclaren was 'hipped 7 on the mat- 
ter of buying documents, and anything offered him he would 

"Dansey further stated that he had a long talk with Sisson 
in London last spring and expressed to Sisson a fear that many 
of the documents were forgeries and urged Sisson to go slow 
with them. The Ambassador adds that if this is true he thinks 
that Sisson would have been wise to have let the American 
government know before the documents were published that 
the genuineness of some of the papers was doubted by the 
British authorities, who might, therefore, naturally object to 
publication in England/' 

Creel replied to Patchin the same day that he had reached 
Sisson by long-distance telephone and had secured a denial 

"specifically and absolutely" that he had held any such con- 
versation with Major Dansey, whom he claimed to have seen 
only briefly. And Creel added that the British opinion of the 
documents "was not based entirely upon the question of genu- 
ineness but on their ideas as to what constitutes effective 
propaganda/' Buttressed by the National Board for Historical 
Service, the CPI went ahead with publication. 

Whether true or false a question that may never be solved 
to the entire satisfaction of all the scholars who have worked 
on the problem The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy was 
widely distributed in this country and in Russia, not only giv- 
ing a definite "set" to American ideas regarding the Bolsheviks 
but also making sufficient impression in Russia itself so that 
certain people have returned to the "Sisson Documents" in 
seeking an answer to the enigma of the famous Moscow Trials 
of a few years ago. Even more recently observers have gone 
back to the conclusions of these documents in considering the 
Reich-Soviet Treaty of 1939. 

It is of ironical interest that the one CPI pamphlet which 
met with spirited and responsible criticism has proved to have 
the greatest survival power of them all. 



Chapter 15 

'ARTIME propaganda of the United States in the other 
countries of the Western Hemisphere is of excep- 
tional interest today because of the importance which 
"hemisphere solidarity" has assumed in the power politics of 
the whole world. The contemporary Division of Cultural Re- 
lations of the Department of State is attempting, on a modest 
scale and in unostentatious fashion, to continue a campaign 
for Pan-American friendship which was started as a govern- 
mental activity twenty-two years ago by the CPI, and which 
had been carried on even before that by the Pan-American 

And Latin America commands special attention in the CPI 
story for an additional reason: in no other part of the world 
was the relation between Wilson idealism and commercial 
interest more intricate or more pronounced. American busi- 
nessmen helped the CPI in all countries, but in Latin America 
they carried the chief burden of our national propaganda. 

The two most important figures in the CPI invasion of 
Latin America were Lieutenant F. E. Ackerman and Edward 
L. Bernays. 

Ackerman, who was attached to Ernest Poolers Foreign 
Press Bureau in New York, was dispatched on an organizing 
trip to South America in the winter of 1918, reaching Per- 
nambuco on March i and continuing from there to Rio de 
Janeiro and then other leading cities of the continent. At each 
place he set up a CPI office. In Brazil the work was left in the 
hands of Ambassador E. V. Morgan, with the feature service 
supervised by Lieutenant William Y. Boyd, assistant naval 
attache. H. H. Sevier, former publisher of the Austin (Texas) 

American and future ambassador to Chile, was appointed di- 
rector of the Buenos Aires office and also covered Paraguay 
and Uruguay, receiving help from private citizens in Asuncion 
and from the American minister, F. C. Crocker, in Monte- 
video. A. A. Preciado was in charge for Chile, and C. N. Grif- 
fis, a Lima publisher, for Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. An or- 
ganization trip similar to Ackerman's but not nearly so pro- 
ductive of results was undertaken in Central America by S. P. 
Verner, who made Panama his base. 

The other key man in the Latin American work was Bernays, 
who today is widely believed to have succeeded the late Ivy 
Lee as No. i public-relations adviser of American business- 
men. He came to the CPI in 1917 as a young Vienna-born 
New Yorker who had served as press agent for the Russian 
Ballet, Enrico Caruso, and other top-rank artists. His most 
important work with the Committee was the conception and 
execution of plans for enlisting the help of American business 
firms. Toward the end of the war he was also in charge of 
the whole Latin American news service, and following the 
Armistice he went to Paris with the CPI delegation. Creel was 
not uniformly pleased with the post-Armistice work of Bernays, 
but everyone granted the importance of his contributions 
while we were still at war. 

Ford, Studebaker, Remington Typewriter, Swift, National 
City Bank, International Harvester, and many other corpora- 
tions were persuaded by Bernays to turn their Latin American 
branches into veritable outposts of the CPI. Pamphlets and 
other publications were distributed to customers, and posters 
and photographic displays filled windows. Advertising was 
sometimes given or denied to Latin American papers in ac- 
cordance with the editorial attitude toward the war. 

Study of the Committee's work in every country below the 
Rio Grande brings important results, but the most compre- 
hensive picture of objectives in all Latin America is given by 
the record of experience in Mexico, where the program was 
the most elaborate and where the general nature of the whole 
problem was perfectly illustrated. 

Mexico was not an easy place to convince people of Amer- 
ica's nobility of purpose. It was not forgotten that the com- 
mander of the A.E.F., supposedly fighting for the rights of 
small nations, had gone to France almost directly from his 
military expedition on Mexican soil. And American seizure of 
Vera Cruz at President Wilson's order, as well as the countless 
actual and alleged sins of American capitalists and the wide- 
spread suspicion of "dollar diplomacy/' did not make the task 
easier. Further, it was recalled, at least in educated circles, that 
Mexico had certain "lost provinces" within the borders of the 
United States territory which had been taken during a special 
manifestation of American big-brotherliness seventy years be- 
fore, and which was offered back to Mexico in the Germans' 
notorious Zimmermann Note. 

German propagandists had been active in Mexico City at 
least since 1914, and, although the Allies had made some ef- 
fort to oppose them, nothing serious was done until 1917, 
when the British established a central committee under 
H. A. C. Cummins, charge d'affaires, with orders to counter- 
act and if possible destroy the German propaganda machine. 

When the United States entered the picture, it was proposed 
that our agents cooperate with the British, but, for a variety 
of reasons, the relationship was never close and sometimes not 
even cordial. One reason was the CPI belief, at the outset, that 
we were furnishing "information," not "propaganda," as Creel 
explained to John Barrett, director of the Pan-American Union, 
in a letter on May 24. 

A general analysis of the Mexican problem was given to 
Creel on February 27, 1918, by Robert H. Murray, who had 
been about a month at work as director of the Mexico City 

"We have to deal with a fanciful revolutionary government 
which conservatively may be assumed to be at least passively 
anti-American and pro-German. We make our appeal to a 
densely ignorant population. The proportionately small edu- 
cated, reading and theoretically thoughtful part of this popu- 
lation is inclined by instinct, racial traits, and the example 

and influence of the past generation to distrust us and our 
government and to dislike Americans in the mass. There al- 
ways is in Mexico more or less latent anti-American sentiment. 
This may be dormant, or become active as it serves the pur- 
poses of politicians and chauvinistic agitators, either in or out 
of the government, to fan and excite it. Thus considering 
the people and the government, we are compelled to realize 
at the outset that we are working in territory which normally 
is antagonistic." 

Murray was staff correspondent of the New York World, 
and apparently continued in this private employment through- 
out the CPI work, though at one point the World objected 
to his double assignment. There was certainly no suggestion 
on the part of the CPI that he was not giving proper attention 
to the government job. He was not only an experienced news- 
paperman but familiar with Mexico, where he had lived for 
seven years. Editor and Publisher said on March 29, 1919: 
"Mr. Murray is the only foreign correspondent who has wit- 
nessed and covered every stage of the Mexican revolution 
from its beginning in 1910 to the present. He has known per- 
sonally and interviewed all of the ten presidents from Diaz's 
time. . . . He has also known and interviewed Villa and 

On the basis of his knowledge of Mexico, Murray advised 
Creel that the CPI should steer clear of the British and operate 
independently. But George Mooser, who had been sent with 
a consignment of films via Vera Cruz, and was apparently 
slated to be CPI commissioner in Mexico, disagreed. He 
favored working through George T. Summerlin, counsellor 
of the American Embassy, and Mr. Cummins, the British 
charge. After study of both Murray's and Mooser's reports, 
Creel decided in favor of Murray and named him head of all 
CPI work in Mexico. 

Murray was not hopeful of results at first, and his principal 
desire was merely to show United States colors in the field: 
"This service will obtain merit not so much through what it 


may be expected really to accomplish or that it is vitally nec- 
essary to influence public sentiment, but because it will indi- 
cate that we are at least as enterprising as the Germans. . . . 
I think news, movies ample for start, reserving other proper 
measures as experience and opportunity dictate." 

To be as enterprising as the enemy was a strenuous assign- 
ment in Mexico City, for German agents found ready allies 
in native haters of the Gringo. It seemed reasonable to many 
Mexicans when they were told that the American army in 
France was merely sharpening a knife that ultimately would 
be turned against Mexico. Stories of American atrocities 
against Cubans, Filipinos, and Porto Ricans were widely dis- 
tributed, and an attempt was made to persuade Mexico that 
all was not happy achievement north of the Rio Grande. 

One of the most resourceful and urelenting of the opposi- 
tion papers was El Democrat, which resisted all blandish- 
ments and threats of force ma/eure and cheerfully continued to 
belabor America and Americans. For instance, the March 23, 
1918, issue reprinted a Hearst editorial from the Los Angeles 
Examiner of a fortnight earlier, under the head: "North Amer- 
ica Confesses Its Evident Defeat in Europe and Considers 
Annexing Mexico to Recoup Itself/' Another number carried 
a translation of William Hard's article "Is America Honest?" 
from the March 1918 issue of the Metropolitan, explaining 
that the original had been smuggled through the censorship; 
the article was printed again in an extra edition and still once 
more on the next day. And on March 22 El Democrata came 
out with "The Downfall of the United States Announced by 
an American ... a notable editorial from the Metropolitan 
Magazine, edited by Theodore Roosevelt." El Democrata's 
introduction of this typical anti- Wilson editorial read: "With- 
out any comment whatever on our part, we present to the 
Mexican public the apocalyptic picture which a great North 
American paints of the corruption of his people and the 
chaotic state of its administration. Read and ponder, you 


Perhaps goaded by such activities of the opposition, or per- 
haps merely encouraged by his own success, Murray rapidly 
warmed to his task. His initial hesitancy gave way to deter- 
mination and finally frank enthusiasm. His office force grew 
to eight, then to more than twenty, with sixty-seven "cor- 
respondents" scattered throughout Mexico, including Amer- 
ican consuls and vice-consuls, Allied and American busi- 
nessmen, and friendly Mexicans. Military Intelligence reports 
confirmed Murray's own belief that he was "getting the Ger- 
mans on the run," though certain intelligence officers retained 
something of the British skepticism regarding Murray's prin- 
cipal assistant and office manager, Arthur DeLima, whose 
father was on the Allied blacklist of "Enemy Traders." Mur- 
ray explained the whole situation to CPI headquarters, and 
the Committee loyally upheld him, H. N. Rickey, for instance, 
writing to Rear Admiral Roger Welles of Naval Intelligence 
on October 29, 1918, of the Committee's satisfaction with 
Murray and his work. 

The first medium planned for the CPI campaign in Mexico 
was the moving picture. George Mooser had thought of giv- 
ing exhibitions on certain public squares, but Major R. M. 
Campbell, military attache, advised that the appearance of 
propaganda would be avoided if the CPI films were quietly 
introduced into the programs of regular movie theaters. The 
problem, here, however, was that most of the theaters in Mex- 
ico City were owned by an American who was on the Allied 
blacklist. Mooser advised that the name should be restored 
to respectability for the sake of the film program, and, although 
the files do not show whether this was done, in two weeks 
Allied films were running, while Mooser himself was anxiously 
awaiting arrival of his own pictures from Vera Cruz. 

When, some months later the first full-length CPI film ar- 
rived, it proved to be Pershing's Crusaders. Murray had it 
tactfully renamed America at War, but enemy agents saw to it 
that the earlier title was made known in the country from 
which some other Pershing crusaders had withdrawn scarcely 
a year before. Some of the exhibitors raised a point of delicacy 


about showing this particular picture, and Murray felt obliged 
to remind them of the blacklist which would cut them off from 
future film supplies. 

In spite of difficulties such as this, however, the CPI movie 
effort was considered a great success, reaching an estimated 
4,500,000 people by the end of the war. When the Armistice 
came, the CPI was in virtual command of the whole movie 
situation, and plans had been made for the final domination of 
the business through a central film exchange controlled by 
the United States government. As Robert Murray said in his 
final report to Creel: 

"It goes almost without saying that among a population in 
which illiterates unfortunately predominate, motion pictures 
possess an enormous influence. . . . German agents saw to 
it diligently in the beginning that [our pictures] met with an 
uproariously hostile reception from the audiences to which 
they were shown. Frequently the police were summoned to 
restore order. Complaints to the authorities were made by our 
opponents that our pictures were inciting riots, and that the 
screening of portraits of the President, Gen. Pershing, and 
other notable personages and of the American flag floating at 
the forefront of marching troops or at the masthead of naval 
units, constituted an insult to the Mexican government and 
people and were in violation of Mexico's neutrality. On vari- 
ous occasions our displays were halted until the local authori- 
ties could be convinced by tactful explanations, and by private 
exhibitions given for their benefit, that the pictures might 
properly be allowed on view. 

"Gradually the demonstrations in the cines lessened, and 
finally ceased. The pictures won their way. The attitude of the 
public altered until after a few months we were repaid for our 
persistence by reports from our agents, telling of cheering and 
applause in place of hoots and yells, and even of 'Vivas!' being 
given for the flag, the President, American war vessels, and 
American soldiers." 

The visual appeal was also made through posters (printed 
both in Mexico and the United States) and large "news pic- 

torials." The latter device had been suggested bv William P. 
Blocker, vice-consul at Piedras Negras, and billboards and 
window displays were constructed to show twelve pictures at a 
time. They were kept well filled, though the material was not 
always perfectly adapted to the CPI purpose. In the beginning 
there were more pictures of Poilus than of Doughboys, and 
even the most intuitive Mexican must have had trouble in dis- 
covering the message for him in pictures of a Lithuanian cele- 
bration in McKinley Park, Chicago, or of logging operations in 
the Northwest. 

In the field of pamphleteering, so important in all countries 
where the CPI worked, Murray's first production was a trans- 
lation of Brand Whitlock's Belgica in an edition of 10,000, 
and this was followed by How the War Came to America. By 
the end of the war, the Mexico office had distributed more 
than 985,000 pamphlets through its own agents, and at least 
100,000 leaflets without imprint had been broadcast through 
insertion in patent-medicine packages. 

A mailing list of Americans and influential Mexicans was 
maintained, and every message went to them on a special let- 
terhead which significantly omitted the names of the three 
Cabinet members of the Committee. Murray wrote Creel on 
March 13, 1918: "It would not do to give our German friends 
and their Mexican friends a chance to shout that the American 
War, Navy, and State Secretaries were trying to influence 
public sentiment in Mexico/' So only Creel's and Murray's 
names appeared on the letterhead, but the threat of force was 
not overlooked even here, for at the bottom of each sheet was 

Though movies and pamphlets were vital in the Mexican 
work, the reader will not be surprised to learn that here, as 
elsewhere, news was the chief vehicle of propaganda, or at 
least the basis for everything else. Besides the daily cable ser- 
vice, which brought a total of more than 4,400,000 words, the 
CPI maintained a system of daily and weekly news bulletins 
which the Mexican government carried post-free through the 


mails. These bulletins were under George F. Weeks, director 
of the Mexican News Bureau, who also inaugurated one of 
the most unusual of all CPI publishing projects a small Eng- 
lish-language news-letter for circulation in the United States, 
in the belief that our own misunderstanding of the Mexican 
situation was at least partly to blame for difficulties between 
the two countries. This paper, something like an Official Bul- 
letin, for Mexico, was published from October 3, 1918, to 
January 30, 1919. 

Neutral and pro-Ally papers in Mexico were delighted to 
receive the CPI news service, which was not only free but also 
timely and interesting. But for some papers special induce- 
ments seemed necessary. 

When Creel sent Robert Murray the first check for $2,000 
for expenses on February 21, 1918, he cabled: "Under no 
circumstances subsidize papers either directly or indirectly. 
Make no financial arrangements with Allied committees until 
submitted to me/' But just two days later Murray was pro- 
posing that papers in the interior should be helped in buying 
the Associated Press service; he suggested that the offer might 
come through the American Chamber of Commerce in Mex- 
ico City so that the United States government would appar- 
ently not be involved. It is not certain whether this plan was 
carried through, but Creel did not raise objection when in- 
formed that George Agnew Chamberlain, the novelist who at 
that time was our consul-general in Mexico, planned to can- 
vass the American colony for $7,500 monthly to be used large- 
ly for advertising. 

And on March 15, 1918, when Creel was informed that 
pro-Ally papers in Guadalajara and Monterrey seemed to be 
weakening, he specifically told Murray to use his own judg- 
ment about contributing. This was not to be regarded as a 
precedent, but at the same time Creel offered to help arrange 
another form of subsidy without cost to the CPI: "We can 
exert pressure here to have American firms place advertising 
under control American Committee and greatly enlarge ap- 


Again, when German propagandists attempted to convince 
Mexico that the Fourth Liberty Loan had failed, Creel author- 
ized an extra appropriation of $2,000 for straight newspaper 
advertising, which read in part: "From the time that the Kaiser 
forced the United States to enter the war to make the world 
safe for democracy, the government has requested loans of 
$1 5,000,000,000. The American people have contributed $18,- 
972,955,650. If it were necessary in order to conquer the 
Kaiser, they would contribute $100,000,000,000. And in order 
to gain the victory they will send to Germany 10,000,000 

But some papers remained stubborn in spite of the bait of 
advertising, the threat of newsprint embargo, and the cutting 
of communications. El Democrats, for instance, survived all of 
these attacks and continued to show a news-gathering ability 
that bordered on the supernatural. It offered its readers what 
purported to be up-to-the-minute reports of German victories 
in France, in spite of the fact that no such messages were 
coming over the Allied-controlled cables. Creel told George 
Weeks on April 11, 1918: "None of El Democrata's cables 
go from this country at all. They are faked in Mexico City. 
We are watching El Democrata's mail and telegraph very 
closely, and have practically shut them off from communica- 
tion with this country." And still the German victory news 
appeared in El Democrata's columns as long as there was a 
German army in the field, and then the attack was shifted 
to the terms of peace. 

One of the special approaches to the Mexican press was a 
United States tour, similar to those for other foreign journa- 
lists as planned by Perry Arnold, but in this case especially 
elaborate. The CPI kept in the background, but made all 
arrangements and paid the bill, which was nearly $10,000. 
Wilfred E. Wiegand of the Associated Press Mexican bureau 
accompanied the group of editors, who were transported in a 
special Pullman car from Laredo to New York to Seattle and 
return, with the tour under the direction of Lieutenant P. S. 
O'Reilly, U.S.N.R. El Democrat was not invited. 


Perhaps the most "Wilsonian" of Robert Murray's projects 
for winning the sympathy of the Mexican people was establish- 
ment of American Reading Rooms in seven cities, with ap- 
proved literature, newspapers, and periodicals always available. 
Growing out of this scheme was the even more ambitious one 
of American classes in English, French, bookkeeping, and 
shorthand. This was immediately popular, and it was reported 
that 30,000 students were enrolled. It was with the greatest 
reluctance that Murray gave up this particular phase of the 
work when the general demobilization order for his office was 
received toward the end of January 1919. He thought there 
was still work to be done in Mexico. 

It was not until twenty years later, however, with establish- 
ment of the Division of Cultural Relations in the Department 
of State, that the American government once again frankly 
addressed itself to the problem of educational propaganda in 
Latin America. But Ernest Poole, director of the Foreign 
Press Bureau, pleaded that the work of the CPI might not 
be ended with the war. In a long, careful, and thought-provok- 
ing report to Creel on December 30, 1918, he urged continu- 
ation of a government bureau to employ the media of news, 
films, and features, and keep the official picture of the United 
States before the masses of the world, ". . . to clear away all 
points of misunderstanding or misconception that already pre- 
vail or that will arise in foreign countries in regard to this 
nation, its life, work, ideals, and opinions, its purposes both 

here and abroad/' 

* * * 

But as Poole was writing that report, CPI offices were mak- 
ing ready to close, one by one, throughout the world. The 
last far-flung outpost would not cease propaganda work until 
the Committee itself went out of existence in June 1919, 
but almost from the moment of the Armistice CPI agents in 
various countries raised new anxious questions for the future. 

On November 14, Mrs. Whitehouse in Berne told Edgar 
Sisson about the attempted Bolshevik strike: "Official of 
Swiss government suggests that it would be most helpful to 

have items from our service to the effect that such disturbances 
in Europe, especially Switzerland, would interfere with or even 
halt plans made by United States for feeding Europe." 

CPI affairs themselves were not proceeding smoothly. On 
November 1 5 Creel applied for passports for the group he was 
sending to the Peace Conference (including Sisson, Byoir, 
Bernays, Charles Hart, Carl Walberg, Major H. E. Atter- 
bury, and E. H. Shuster) , but shortly he was cabling about 
his high displeasure with the way Bernays was handling pub- 
licity for the group, and on November 25 said: 

"Contrary to the press, the people that I sent abroad were 
part of the Foreign Section, and will have nothing to do but 
purely mechanical work in connection with distribution. I will 
have absolutely nothing to do with the publicity of the Peace 
Conference, nothing to do whatsoever with the organization 
of any personnel that will go from here, and am going myself 
in a capacity personal to the President. . . . The House Com- 
mittee [The Inquiry?] in New York had entire charge of get- 
ting the organization of experts together, and the State De- 
partment is looking after others/' 

Meanwhile, the intentions of our comrades in arms received 
new scrutiny. Hearley reported from Rome that England was 
trying to persuade Italians that Britain was their only true 
friend. Riis said that Copenhagen newspapers feared the Peace 
Conference would leave open wounds and cause enduring bit- 
terness. Mrs. Whitehouse described on December 10 the sig- 
nificant emphasis by both Reuters and Agence Havas on re- 
ports of Senate opposition to President Wilson. And Paul 
Perry cabled Sisson from London on December 12: 

"The different views concerning the President's attitude are 
still those of expectancy and they are being very much dis- 
cussed particularly those referring to the freedom of the seas. 
The opinions the most often expressed are that Wilson came 
to France with certain definite ideas founded on too small an 
appreciation of the situation in Europe and that he is very 
likely to change his views when he meets and confers with 

statesmen who have the proper European outlook. Many crit- 
icisms are also expressed here in regards to the increase of 
the navy, but opinions are heard that the proposed addition to 
the navy would be an asset if it insures cooperation with the 
navy of Great Britain in preserving world peace. The press is 
in favor of the utmost publicity in regards to the peace con- 
ference . . . but the majority of the officials do not approve 
of the idea/' 

From another source Sisson was informed on December 20: 
"The French are supposed to be planning for the President, 
with very great ability, fetes and entertainments to distract 
him from the object of his mission as much as possible, and 
to be planning as many postponements and delays in confer- 
ence as divergence of President's opinion may warrant, with 
the object of forcing his premature departure/' 

Then on January 7, 1919, Walter Rogers in Paris reflected 
Peace Commission anxiety regarding the tides of opinion at 
home. He advised Perry Arnold: 

"Peace Commission wants following wireless so as to be 
received here daily not later than 7:00 a.m. Paris time sub- 
stance front page news American press stop Editorial com- 
ment dealing primarily with peace conference and problems 
of peace stop Comment desired from not only leading Repub- 
lican and Democratic papers but also from papers like New 
YorJc Call and from weeklies like New Republic, Collier's 
etcetera stop Also want brief review proceedings of Congress 
with special reference to international affairs stop . . . you 
personally prepare biweekly diagnosis state of mind of country 
about Peace Conference and policies which country wants 
adopted for instance in regard to sending American troops 
Russia stop ... All material requested herein is part COMPUB 
service and should be addressed to COMPUB." 

The CPI office in Berne on February 4 reported that Swiss 
papers doubted the permanence of the new world order. They 
believed "it is almost certain so called World War not last 
war stop Without total revolution naive to believe shall see 


formed great family Europeans of London Paris Madrid Rome 

Vienna Berlin Petrograd " And on February 1 5, Guy Cros- 

well Smith, who had succeeded Mrs. Whitehouse at Berne, 
paraphrased a Basel newspaper: "Impression prevailing Wil- 
son gave way to French English imperialistic pressure stop 
Germany driven desperation. . . . Hopeless Germany danger- 
ous to European peace stop Germany and Entente policies 
responsible for coming catastrophe by refusing listen Wilson." 

Disquieting reports increased as the winter wore on to Eu- 
rope's first peaceful spring since 1914. French farmers might 
try to turn battlegrounds into wheat fields once more, but 
only in Russia, where armies still held the field and even "civil" 
life was on a wartime basis, and in Latin America, where the 
prize of war-won trade outshone everything else, were the 
agents of the Creel Committee sanguine for the future. 

While the United States prepared for its repudiation of 
Woodrow Wilson, for Teapot Dome and the Big Bull Mar- 
ket, Europe also was on its way back to normalcy. 

Some happy chapters were to be unfolded the Nansen Of- 
fice, Near East Relief, Bryan shouting for joy from the press 
table at the Washington Conference, Briand and Streseman 
walking arm in arm at Geneva, Locarno, the International 
Labor Office, the Pact of Paris. . . . 

But also there were the chapters on Reparations, debt-de- 
faults, inflation, famine, the Ruhr, the Riff, book-burning, 
race hatred, mass trials, concentration camps, Manchuria, 
China, Ethiopia, Austria, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Albania, 
Poland. . . . 

President Wilson was given the military victory he wanted 
on November 11, 1918, and it seemed that his spokesmen of 
the CPI had likewise triumphed. But in those final weeks of 
the Committee on Public Information the realistic members 
of the staff asked themselves if, after all, they had won their 
fight for the mind of mankind. 


Part IV 

Chapter 16 

Six days before the end of the World War and the sup- 
posed victory in the fight for the mind of mankind, 
George Creel received this letter from William Allen 
White, Republican editor of the Emporia Gazette: 

"November 5, 1918 

"Pardon me for neglecting your letter of October 29, but I 
have been a very busy little person since it came, saving our 
beloved country from the slimy clutches of your Democratic 
Party, and now that the country is saved again I take up your 
letter with joy. I say joy because your letter discloses a situ- 
ation which comes to every man more or less, and I have just 
been going through a parallel experience. 

"I have on the Gazette one of those safe editorial writers 
who confines himself to lambasting the Turk and soaking 
the Kaiser and estimating the relation of the corn to the popu- 
lation, and who never has made me trouble. He takes his type- 
writer in hand about a month ago and writes what seemed to 
be a harmless editorial calling attention to the fact that in 
the new reorganization of society men were getting paid for 
manual labor, which requires little training, as much as col- 
lege professors used to get, who spent years in training. 

"I was in New York making Liberty Loan speeches when 
he sent it to me, and as I thought that it was a good thing 
that labor was coming into its own, and that the laborer and 
the college professor were getting about the- same, I glanced 
through it hurriedly, put a head on, 'The Grand Shake-Up/ 
added a three-line cracker at the end, saying that in the grand 


shake-up that was coming society was going to be reorganized 
and justice would edge up a little closer to the millennium. 

"I sent it back with a bunch of copy, it lay on the dead hook 
until three or four days before the election, was printed, and 
WHIZZ-BANG! the Third Ward blew up, down where the 
railroad boys are getting two hundred bucks per month for 
fairly common labor. The editorial was taken to mean a dirty 
Republican protest against the Democrats paying the railroad 
men their hard-earned wages, which was not my thought 
at all. . . ." 

Mr. White's engaging reflections on the danger of writing 
for publication, and the almost certain misunderstanding of 
motives, must have struck a responsive chord in the heart of 
George Creel. Plenty of evidence may be found of his mis- 
taken snap judgments and his needless exuberance of invec- 
tive, but most frequently he was attacked either for total 
irrelevancies or for sins which he had not committed. For 
instance, he was often accused of "Kaiserism," yet the record 
seems to show that he withstood the temptation to dictator- 
ship not only with courage but with considerable success. 
And he was accused of cynicism and insincerity, whereas ac- 
tually he was one of the most "oversold" men in America on 
the very doctrines which he preached. 

This book is not meant to defend Mr. Creel as a person, 
but to show the CPI for what it was a social innovation bril- 
liantly conceived and in many ways brilliantly executed. Its 
work is with us today. 

One measure of the impact of the CPI on American life is 
the persistence through two decades of the stereotypes which 
it gave us during the war. Some of these are still accepted by 
scholars, some rejected, but for the public mind the great ma- 
jority are as clear today as when they were vividly presented 
by Dean Ford's pamphleteers, Charles Dana Gibson's artists, 
and Ernest Poole's feature writers. For instance the World 
War was a "People's War" and a "holy war of ideas"; Amer- 
ica, alone of all belligerents, was disinterested; conscription 


was more democratic than voluntary service, but the Liberty 
Loans were more democratic than taxation; the Allies ob- 
served international law; unrestricted submarine warfare was 
adopted because of German liking for SchrecIcIichJceit; Ger- 
many alone conducted propaganda against our neutrality; 
England and France were committed to President Wilson's 
program . . . and so on. 

Some of the CPI stereotypes, such as the cruder pictures 
of German atrociousness in the field of minor tactics, have 
become blurred even in the popular mind, while disillusion- 
ment has wiped away, for many, the last trace of Wilson inter- 
nationalism, perhaps the most important idea conveyed by the 
Committee. But by and large the American people today hold 
the articles of faith which the CPI, as spokesman for Presi- 
dent Wilson, drew up in 1917 and 1918. 

The stamp of the CPI is visible, however, not only in the 
popular conception of World War history but also in official 
thinking about "holding fast the inner lines" if America should 
become involved in the new European War. 

Dozens of writers recently have told what will happen to 
American life with the advent of "M-Day." Some accounts 
are based on government reports, some place greater reliance 
on the imagination, but in neither case has anyone suggested 
a technique or a channel of propaganda which was not at least 
tried by the CPI. Even radio broadcasting, unknown in 1918, 
was at least simulated by the Four-Minute Men, and of course 
point-to-point wireless was important for the Foreign Section. 

Most people believe that if the United States should find 
itself in another war we would have conscription of labor and 
wealth and an industrial mobilization more immediate, more 
inflexible, and more complete than during the World War. 
If so, the CPI formula could not be followed exactly. We 
could not afford to have a "George Creel" mediating between 
stern military necessity and the normal procedure of civil life. 
Whether we should have the earlier type of committee on pub- 
lic information, and what sort of man would head it those are 
questions on which the American people have not yet spoken. 


But whether the main pattern were "totalitarian" or "demo- 
cratic/' the objectives sought and the general procedures fol- 
lowed would be those of the CPI. 

Contrary to naive opinion, conscription of wealth would 
not decrease the need for propaganda of the "Fight or Buy 
Bonds" variety. As Goebbels and his colleagues demonstrate, 
the "hammer and anvil of propaganda" must be pounded even 
more noisily to gain popular acquiescence in policies imposed 
from above. Whatever change might come over our state in a 
new war, a "propaganda ministry" would hold a vital place 
in the government. 

It is clear, for instance, that the present Division of Cul- 
tural Relations in the Department of State needs only the 
stimulus of increased international excitement to push it into 
frank continuation of work begun by the CPI Latin American 
branch. And there is an authentic Creel flavor in the Senate 
bill, introduced in January 1938 by Senator Chavez of New 
Mexico and Senator McAdoo of California, for construction 
of a superpower broadcasting station near San Diego "to trans- 
mit programs upon high frequencies to all the nations of the 
Western Hemisphere," the programs to be "particularly de- 
signed to strengthen the spiritual, political, and historical ties 
between the United States and such other nations of the 
Western Hemisphere." 

Perhaps the Division of Cultural Relations would be ab- 
sorbed into a committee on public information upon declara- 
tion of war, perhaps it would continue independently, but 
either way it would follow in the steps of the Creel Commit- 
tee's Foreign Section, though presumably avoiding some of 
the errors of that hastily contrived organization. 

Similarly on the home front, the CPI is the clearly recog- 
nizable model for practically every plan of government public 
relations in the event of war. The most important blueprint 
has been prepared by a joint committee of the army and navy. 
An understanding of its auspices and significance requires a 
general statement of peacetime public relations of the War 

[ 34 ] 

Department and the Navy Department, and of the changes 
which they envisage in the event of war. 

In the War Department, the key unit is the Military Intel- 
ligence Division (G-2) of the General Staff, charged with re- 
sponsibility for public relations, intelligence, and censorship. 
The Public Relations Section and the Press Section maintain 
relations with the press and with comparable offices in the navy. 
During peacetime, the War Department decentralizes its 
public relations as much as possible, allowing the various 
Corps Areas and other field offices to have direct access to the 
press, and to carry on their own public relations according to 
general rules of policy. Thus, during peace, the Public Relations 
Section in Washington is largely concerned with routine du- 
ties of gathering, examining, and mimeographing press mate- 
rial from various sections of the War Department, receiving 
the help of an officer assigned from each section of the de- 
partment. As in all offices of both the army and navy, every 
effort is made to deal with all civilians courteously and, within 
the limits of policy, to give all possible assistance. 

Navy publicity is handled by a branch of Naval Intelligence, 
which, in turn, is under the Chief of Naval Operations. The 
present unit grew out of the Information Section established 
in 1922, and at present is known as the Public Relations 
Branch with Lieutenant Commander Leland P. Lovette in 
charge. Two officers serve under him, one an assistant and 
the other a director of press relations with a clerical staff of 
three. A news room, commodious and well equipped, is main- 
tained for reporters, and releases are furnished with amazing 
speed. The Public Relations Branch also cooperates with mo- 
tion picture producers and magazine writers, and undertakes 
ghost-writing assignments. 

This office also keeps close tab on everything about the 
navy printed in more than 400 newspapers in several lan- 
guages, and from time to time makes reports on the state of 
public opinion. The Secretary of the Navy recently issued a 
memorandum which read in part: "Officers of the several 
Bureaus and activities of the Navy Department designated as 


liaison officers with the Navy Department Public Relations 
Branch will maintain close contact with the Press Section and 
furnish such items as are suitable for publication. . . . Where 
circumstances make departure from this procedure advisable, 
the responsible officer who releases information . . . should 
communicate to the Public Relations Branch the substance 
of his remarks." 

Recently the navy has been less openhanded in its release of 
significant news, one of the reasons for the change of policy 
being a desire to "amortize the shock of censorship" in the 
event of war. Since the beginning of 1937, progress reports 
on naval construction have not been released, and correspon- 
dents are no longer permitted to go with the fleet on maneu- 
vers with the former frequency. 

Both the army and the navy realize that in the event of war 
their public relations programs would undergo change, and 
that the problems to be faced would be common to the two 
branches of service. Accordingly, the two departments have 
brought their public relations programs closer together since 
January 1937, when a Special Joint Army and Navy Public 
Relations Committee was appointed to investigate the entire 
field, work out peacetime coordination of the two services, and 
draw up the public relations part of the Industrial Mobiliza- 
tion Plan. 

After four months of research, the committee reported to 
the Army and Navy Joint Board. The report was approved 
with minor changes on August 11, 1937. O ne f the recom- 
mendations was establishment of a Continuing Joint Army 
and Navy Public Relations Committee, and this was formed 
toward the end of 1937 with a membership of eight, divided 
equally between the army and navy. It is a planning unit, not 
administrative. Four sections, each comprised of one army 
and one naval officer, deal with publicity, censorship, organ- 
ization, legal matters. The committee is now engaged in per- 
fecting the general plans suggested by the Special Committee. 

The Industrial Mobilization Plan covers far more than pub- 
lic relations. It provides for other control units which are de- 

scendants of the War Trade Board, the War Industries Board, 
and other emergency establishments of the World War. The 
Public Relations Administration provided in the plan would 
be the successor of the CPI. Its functions would be: 

1 . To coordinate publicity programs of government depart- 
ments and agencies. 

2. To serve as an information bureau to which the nation 
and the world might look for accurate and unbiased facts re- 
garding war aims. 

3. To combat disaffection at home. 

'4. To counteract enemy propaganda both at home and 

5. To organize all existing propaganda media for the prose- 
cution of the war. 

6. To secure the cooperation of the press, the radio, and 
the film industry. 

7. To formulate and administer rules of censorship. 

Plans have been drawn for securing the instantaneous back- 
ing of individuals and groups in the fields of newspapers and 
magazines, advertising, pictures, radio, civic cooperation. 

The organization of the Public Relations Administration, 
shown by the chart on the next page, is more than merely rem- 
iniscent of the CPI and the Censorship Board. 

This proposal comes from the army and navy, but if it 
should seem like military infringement on the domain of the 
civil government, two things should be remembered: ( i ) That 
the distinction between civil and military government can be 
all but obliterated in time of war; and (2) that even at the 
present moment of American neutrality certain legislators are 
willing to go at least as far as the fighting men. 

The well known May Bill, for instance, introduced March 
i, 1938, by Representative Andrew Jackson May of Kentucky, 
would establish price-fixing, control of property and services, 
a system of priorities in all trade and industry, and limitation 
of profits. The May Bill has received considerable support, 
though attacked by liberals. The comment of the Philadelphia 
Record was typical of the opposition attitude: "In the first 



Public Relations Administration 












\/ COM 












rt v 





as s 

\/ COM 





One Blueprint for Tomorrow's CPI 

place, the new bill . . . doesn't take the profits out of war. In 
the second place, after ducking this basic issue, the bill goes 
on to reduce these United States to a dictatorship, going far 
beyond anything we have ever tried or needed in our greatest 
war emergencies." The minority report on the May Bill said 
it proposed "Congressional hara-kiri/' 

[ 344 ] 

Section 6 of the May Bill, providing a system of "universal 
licensing/' is important. No person in industries named by 
the President could do business without license from the gov- 
ernment, and of course the license could be revoked if per- 
formance were not "patriotic." By the letter of the law the 
press would not be affected ("This section shall not apply to 
the publication or distribution of newspapers, periodicals, or 
books") . But in the House Report on the hearings, this "com- 
ment" was printed: 

"This section empowers the President to license and com- 
pletely control all forms of human life and endeavor and to 
fix the terms, at his own whim, on which he will grant the 
licenses. It makes one exception a legislative bribe to 'news- 
papers, periodicals, and books/ which shall be exempt. But 
newspapers are subject to every other provision registration, 
draft, and hedged around in such a way as to easily eliminate 
the freedom of the press. Newsprint could be denied or placed 
at prohibitive price levels." 

Another of the important "mobilization" bills is the one 
introduced by Senator Josh Lee of Oklahoma on February 28, 
1939, providing for conscription of wealth through forced i 
per cent loans redeemable anytime within fifty years at the 
discretion of the government, with individual amounts as- 
signed on the basis of property ownership by local committees 
similar to the draft boards of the last war. The Lee Bill 
is interesting for a number of reasons, among them this argu- 
ment advanced in its favor: "In the last war the government, 
in order to raise money, was even compelled to find pretty 
girls, dress them up as attractively as possible, get them to go 
out in front of the curtains in theaters, and make four-minute 
speeches begging for enough money to buy food for the sol- 
diers who were at that time facing death in the trenches." 

Though the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed the Lee 
Bill, the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments seem to have 
turned thumbs down. Conscription of lives and dollars and 
resources and labor may well be expected in any lengthy war, 


but the realistic officers of the fighting service recognize the 
problems that would arise in a "totalitarian democracy." And 
whatever the structure of the wartime state may be, and what- 
ever degree of civilian control military men would like to see, 
they know as George Creel did that man does not live by bread 
alone that publicity and propaganda must keep alive the 
fires of patriotism however stern the laws may be. 

As the war to end war recedes into the past, America's fight- 
ing men turn back to the CPI. Improvements on the Creel 
Committee would undoubtedly be made, but if another war 
should come to this country, no American would need to read 
the story of the CPI. He would relive it. 




THE one great reservoir of material for this book has been the hitherto 
unexplored files of the CPI. These have yielded such an embarrassing 
wealth of information that a book might well be written on each of the 
score or more of divisions in the Committee. The task of selection has 
been difficult, and the authors realize that in attempting to give a 
rounded picture of the whole undertaking they have done less than 
justice to certain of its phases and its personnel. Temptation has been 
great to include many more documents than could be included in this 
space; selection has been weighted in favor of material not already familiar 
through the work of other authors. 

For the great majority of facts adduced here, the source is a document 
in the CPI collection of the National Archives. To footnote each document 
according to the classification scheme of the Archives would be not only 
meaningless to the vast majority of readers but completely useless to a 
scholar in any other library. In nearly all cases, however, identification 
through names and dates is supplied in the text. 

The authors will be more than pleased to furnish direct key reference 
numbers to any qualified scholar communicating with them. 

Many persons in the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and 
other institutions have given valued help without which the book could 
not have been possible. In addition to the persons named in the Preface, 
the authors thank particularly: Frank Hardee Allen, Marilynn Allen, 
Robert G. Ballentine, Elizabeth Bethel, Mr. and Mrs. Martin P. Claussen, 
Jesse S. Douglas, G. Vinton Duffield, Elizabeth B. Drewry, David C. 
Duniway, Robert A. East, Edward Epes, May E. Fawcett, Miles McP. 
Fitch, Herman Friis, Bess Glenn, Vladimir Gsovski, Philip M. Hamer, 
Roscoe R. Hill, Elbert L. Huber, Helen Hunter, Dorsey W. Hyde, Dal- 
las D. Irvine, Edwin Justice, Mrs. Margaret V. Kettler, Ralph H. Lutz, 
David C. Mearns, Leland D. Norton, Donald G. Patterson, Marcus W. 
Price, Martin A. Roberts, Dorothy Shorb, Harold H. Sprout, Charles L. 
Stewart, S. F. Stoudenmire, Jr., Margaret Farrand Thorp, Frederick P. 
Todd, Karl Trever, Edna F. Vosper, Arthur E. Young, Malcolm O. 
Young, and the editorial staff of the Princeton University Press. 

Thanks are also due to the publishers who have permitted quotations 
from their books, as indicated in these notes. 

[ 349 ] 


Aside from the files in the National Archives, on which this book is 
based almost entirely, the three most important sources of information 
regarding the CPI are George Creel's Complete Report of the Chairman 
of the Committee on Public Information, 1917:1918:1919. Washington, 
1920; his more popular How We Advertised America. New York: Harper, 
1920; and the hearings at which CPI personnel was interrogated by a 
House of Representatives committee (U.S. Congress. House. Committee 
on Appropriations. 65th Cong. 2 Sess. Hearings before the Subcommittee 
of the House Committee on Appropriations in Charge of Sundry Civil 
Appropriation Bill for 1919. Pt. 3. Washington, 1918). 

Background atmosphere has been gained from a wide range of books, 
some of the most useful including Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wil- 
son, Life and Letters (especially Vols. 7 and 8). New York: Doubleday, 
Doran, 1938-1939; George G. Bruntz, Allied Propaganda and the Col- 
lapse of the German Empire in 1918 (Hoover War Library No. 13). 
Stanford University Press, 1938; Will Irwin, Propaganda and the News. 
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936; Harold D. Lasswell, Propaganda Tech- 
nique in the World War. New York: Knopf, 1927; Waldo G. Leland 
and Newton D. Mereness, Introduction to the American Official Sources 
for the Economic and Social History of the World War. New Haven: 
Yale University Press, 1926; Frederic L. Paxson, American Democracy and 
the World War. Boston: Hough ton Mifflin, 1936 and 1939; Hans 
Thimme, WeltJcrieg ohne Waflen. Stuttgart: Cotta, 1932. 

Throughout the work, constant use has been made of the files of the 
Congressional Record and of many House and Senate documents, includ- 
ing bound copies of original bills and amendments. 

In the following notes, general references are given for certain of the 
chapters. Specific facts are annotated here only if the source lies outside 
the CPI files and is not given in the text: 


Pages viii-ix. Harold D. Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World 
War. New York: Knopf, 1927. 


Page 5. Among the important special interpretations are Newton D. 
Baker, Why We Went to War. New York: Harper, 1936; Charles A. 
Beard, The Devil Theory of War. New York: Vanguard, 1936; C. Hartley 
Grattan, Why We Fought. New York: Vanguard, 1929; Walter Millis, 
Road to War. Boston: Hough ton MifHin, 1935; Horace C. Peterson, 
Propaganda for War. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939; 


Charles Seymour, American Diplomacy During the World War. Balti- 
more: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1934; and U.S. Congress. Senate. 
Special Committee to Investigate the Munitions Industry. 7 3rd Cong. 
Hearings Pursuant to S. Res. 206. Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1934 et seq. (22 vols.). 

Page 15. John Lord O'Brian in New York State Bar Association Report, 
Vol. 42 (1919), p. 280. U.S. Department of Justice. Annual Report of the 
Attorney General, 1917:1918:1919. 


Among the most useful books on censorship are Zechariah Chafee, Jr., 
Freedom of Speech. New York: Harcourt, 1920. Leon Whipple, The 
Story of Civil Liberty in the United States. New York: Vanguard, 1927; 
and Ernest Sutherland Bates, This Land of Liberty, New York: Harper, 
1930. All three are in popular style, though Chafee's is essentially a work 
of legal scholarship. All three argue against censorship, but open up more 
avenues of thought than more conservative works. 

Page 22. Webb Bill: H.R. 20757. Overman Bill: S. 8148. 64th Cong. 
2 Sess. 

Page 2 3. U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. 64th 
Cong. 2 Sess. To Punish Espionage . . . Hearings ... on S. 8148, Serial 
53, February 22, 1917. 

Pages 23-4. Webb Bill: H.R. 291. Culberson Bill: S. 2. 65th Cong, i 

Page 24. When section 4 was stricken from the bill, another provision 
was of course moved up to take that number. In this book "section 4" 
means the defeated section which the press called "censorship," not sec- 
tion 4 as it appears in the Statutes at Large. 

Page 30. U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary. 65th 
Cong, i Sess. Espionage and Interference with Neutrality, Hearings ... on 
H.R. 291, Serial 53, pt. 2, April 9 and 12, 1917. 

Page 38. Wilson to conferees: Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wilson, 
Life and Letters. New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1938. Vol. 7, p. 83. 

Page 39. As passed, the Espionage Act had thirteen titles: I, Espionage; 
II, Vessels in Ports; III, Injuring Vessels; IV, Interference with Foreign 
Commerce; V, Enforcement of Neutrality; VI, Seizure of Arms; VII, 
Certain Exports in Time of War Unlawful; VIII, Disturbance of Foreign 
Relations; IX, Passports; X, Counterfeiting Government Seal; XI, Search 
Warrants; XII, Use of Mails; XIII, General Provisions. 

Page 42. Title I of the Espionage Act was largely incorporated into 
chapter 4, Title 50 (War) of the U.S. Code. See U.S. Code Annotated, 
Title 50, sees. 31-42 (especially 31-3). 

[351 ] 

Page 43. Oswald Garrison Villard, Fighting Years. New York: Harcourt, 

1 939> PP; 34-^ 354-5- 

For Title XII see U.S. Code Annotated, Title 18 (Criminal Code and 
Criminal Procedure), sees. 343-5. 

For Title XI see U.S. Code Annotated, Title 18, chiefly chapter 18. 

Page 44. Schenck decision: 249 U.S. 52. 

Page 45. For section 19 of the Trading-with-the-Enemy Act see U.S. 
Code Annotated, Title 50, pp. 300-1. 

Page 46. The following is the text of section 3, Title I, of the Espio- 
nage Act of June 15, 1917, as amended by the so-called "Sedition Act" of 
May 16, 1918. The 1918 amendments, which were repealed by act of 
March 3, 1921, are shown in italics: 

"Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or 
convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the 
operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, 
or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall wilfully make or convey 
false reports or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of 
bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor or investors, with intent 
to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities of the 
United States or the making of loans by or to the United States, and 
whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully cause, or attempt 
to cause, or incite or attempt to incite, insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, 
or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or 
shall wilfully obstruct or attempt to obstruct the recruiting or enlistment 
service of the United States,* and whoever, when the United States is 
at war, shall wilfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, 
scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United 
States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval 
forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uni- 
form of the Army or Navy of the United States, or any language intended 
to bring the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution 
of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, 
or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of 
the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute, or shall 
wilfully utter, print, write, or publish any language intended to incite, 
provoke, or encourage resistance to the United States, or to promote the 
cause of its enemies, or shall wilfully display the flag of a foreign enemy, 
or shall wilfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language 
spoken, urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this 
country of any thing or things, product or products, necessary or essential 
to the prosecution of the war in which the United States may be engaged, 
with intent by such curtailment to cripple or hinder the United States 

* At this point the 1917 form of the law included the phrase "to the injury of the service of 
the United States." 


in the prosecution of the war, and whoever shall wilfully advocate, teach, 
defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section 
enumerated, and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause 
of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act 
oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine 
of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty 
years, or both: Provided, That any employee or official of the United 
States Government who commits any disloyal act or utters any unpatriotic 
or disloyal language, or who, in an abusive and violent manner criticizes 
the Army or Navy or the flag of the United States shall be at once dis- 
missed from the service. Any such employee shall be dismissed by the 
head of the department in which the employee may be engaged, and any 
such official shall be dismissed by the authority having power to appoint 
a successor to the dismissed official." 


One of the best things written on Creel as a person is the "profile" in 
the San Francisco magazine, The Coast, Vol. i, no. 10 (September 1938), 
pp. 30-3. The structure of the CPI is described in the general sources 
mentioned above. 

Page 54. George Creel, Quatrains of Christ. New York: P. Elder and 
Co., 1908. 

Page 59. George Creel, Wilson and the Issues. New York: Century, 

Page 61. Ray Stannard Baker, op. cit., Vol. 8, p. 156. 

For Congressional investigation see Sundry Civil Bill Hearings listed 
under general sources. 

Page 62. George Creel, "The 'Lash' of Public Opinion," Collier's, Vol. 
74, no. 21, p. 46 (November 22, 1924). 

Page 67. Byoir's public relations projects: Public Opinion Quarterly, 
Vol. 3, no. 3 (July 1939), pp. 513-15; U.S. Congress. House. Special 
Committee on Un-American Activities. 73rd Cong. 2 Sess. Hearings, 
No. 73-DC-4. The latter reference is to the "Dickstein Committee." On 
June 5, 1934, Carl C. Dickey of Carl Byoir and Associates testified that 
their firm was receiving $6,000 per month from the German Tourist 
Information Office of New York. George Sylvester Viereck (wartime 
German propagandist) was expert adviser to the Byoir firm at $1,750 per 
month; Byoir maintained a Berlin office at a cost of $1,000 per month; 
up to the time of the hearings the firm had received more than $100,000 
for promoting German-American goodwill in the interest of American 
tourism in the Reich. 



la addition to the general sources, the student will be aided by the 
Preliminary Statement to the Press of the United States. Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1917; and the Report of the Director of the 
Official U.S. Bulletin to the Chairman of the Committee on Public In- 
formation. Washington, 1919. 

Page 102. New York Times, January 20, 1918, sec. 8, p. 11. 

Page 104. Fairfax D. Downey, Portrait of an Era as Drawn by Charles 
Dana Gibson. New York: Scribner's, 1936. pp. 322, 324. 


Files of the Four-Minute Men News (nos. A-F) and the Four-Minute 
Men Bulletins (nos. 1-46) give the readiest understanding of the work. 
Also see "The War Work of the Four-Minute Men," The Touchstone, 
Vol. 3, no. 6 (September 1918), p. 507; Glenn N. Merry, "National 
Defense and Public Speaking," Quarterly Journal of Speech Education, 
Vol. 4, no. i (January 1918), pp. 58-9; and Bertram G. Nelson, "The 
Four-Minute Men" in What Every American Should Know About the 
War (Montaville Flowers ed.). New York: Doran, 1918. 

Page 11 4. George Creel, How We Advertised America. New York: 
Harper, 1920. p. 84. 

Page 130. Nelson, op. cit., p. 252. 


Files of Exhibitor's Trade Review, Moving Picture World, Hearst's, 
and Variety are the most important sources outside the CPI files. 

Page 145. Maximilian Foster was later the highly successful and uni- 
formly praised head of the CPI news service with the A.E.F. 

Page 146. U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. 65th 
Cong. 2 & 3 Sess. Brewing and Liquor Interests and German Propaganda, 
Hearings . . . Pursuant to S.Res. 307. Washington, 1919. Vol. 2. 

Page 150. R. S. Baker, op. cit., Vol. 8, pp. 65-6. 

Page 153. R. S. Baker, op. cit., Vol. 8, pp. 213, 441. 


Publications of Dean Ford's division are the most important sources. 
Files of the History Teacher's Magazine are likewise useful, as are Parke R. 
Kolbe, The Colleges in War Time and After. New York: Appleton, 1919; 
and Charles F. Thwing, The American Colleges and Universities in the 
Great War. New York: Macmillan, 1920. Sharp criticisms of wartime 
scholarship may be found in Charles Angoff, "The Higher Learning 
Goes to War," American Mercury, Vol. 11 (June 1927), pp. 177-91; 

[ 354] 

Harry Elmer Barnes, 'The Drool Method in History," American Mer- 
cury, Vol. i, no. i (January 1924), pp. 31-8; C. Hartley Grattan, "The 
Historians Cut Loose," American Mercury, Vol. 11 (August 1927), pp. 
414-30; and Upton Sinclair, The Goose Step. Pasadena: the Author, 1922. 
The problem of suppressed and "revised" textbooks is brilliantly and 
comprehensively treated in Bessie Louise Pierce, Public Opinion and the 
Teaching of History in the United States. New York: Knopf, 1926. 


Page 188. The poem bears the printed notation: "Compliments of 
Commonwealth Steel Company, St. Louis, Mo.," and in longhand: 
"Byoir: This is one of the best and should be given great publicity 
C.H.H. [C. H. Howard, president of Commonwealth]." 

Page 190. Grosvenor Clarkson, Industrial America in the World War. 
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1923. p. 276. 

Page 2 10. In the Detroit case formal specific complaints were never 
filed, and on January 29, 1919, the National War Labor Board (Docket 
439) said it could only conclude that "the difficulties complained of no 
longer exist, or that the complainants do not care to press the case, and 
therefore recommend that it be dismissed without prejudice." 


In addition to the general sources, see Heber Blankenhorn, Adventures 
in Propaganda. Boston: Houghton MifBin, 1919. Rear- Admiral Sir Douglas 
Brownrigg, Indiscretions of the Naval Censor. London: Cassell, 1920; 
Major E. Alexander Powell, The Army Behind the Army, New York: 
Scribner's, 1919; Sir Campbell Stuart, Secrets of Crewe House, Lon- 
don: Hodder and Stoughton, 1920; and Vira B. Whitehouse, A Year as a 
Government Agent, New York: Harper, 1920. None of these latter is 
intended as scholarship, but all are valuable for background information 
regarding the CPFs foreign campaign. 

Page 218. George G. Bruntz, Allied Propaganda and the Collapse of 
the German Empire in 1918. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1938. 
"In a personal letter to the writer, Mr. Otto H. Kahn shortly before his 
death again denied any connection with the Freie Zeitung or that he had 
given money to the Friends of German Democracy" (p. 37 n.) . 

For German-American Alliance, see U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee 
on the Judiciary. 65th Cong. 2 Sess. Hearings ... on S. 3529, a Bill to Re- 
peal the Act Entitled, "An Act to Incorporate the National German- 
American Alliance. . . ." Washington, 1918. Also see Brewing and Liquor 
Interests hearings listed under Chapter VI. 

Page 246. Powell, op. cit., pp. 348-9. 

[ 355] 

Page 261. Wilson on fomenting revolution: a probably unused memo- 
randum to Tumulty. R. S. Baker, op. cit., Vol. 8, p. 389. 

Page 267. Irene Wright is now a member of the staff of the Division 
of Cultural Relations in the Department of State. 

Page 275: For cablegrams on the "camouflage" incident and a special 
interpretation of it, see Whitehouse, op. cit., appendix. 

Page 278. Schwimmer incident: ibid., pp. 232 ff. 

Page 292. Kerney on Paris: ibid., p. 81. 

Page 300. For general background of the CPI work in Russia, see James 
Bunyan, Intervention, Civil War, and Communism in Russia. Baltimore: 
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1936; William Henry Chamberlin, The 
Russian Revolution, 1917-1921. New York: Macmillan, 1935; Frederick L. 
Schuman, American Policy Toward Russia Since 1917. New York: Inter- 
national Publishers, 1928; George Stewart, The White Armies of Russia. 
New York: Macmillan, 1933; Leonid I. Strakhovsky, Origins of American 
Intervention in North Russia (1918). Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1937. The story of a principal in the CPI Russian work is given in 
Edgar G. Sisson, 100 Red Days. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1931. 
For an interesting Russian estimate of the Root Mission and the back- 
ground of CPI effort, see D. Fedotoff White, Survival Through War and 
Revolution in Russia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1939. 

Page 317. Schuman, op. cit., p. 152. 


Page 340. Chavez-McAdoo Bill: S. 3342. 

Page 341. For peacetime public relations of Army and Navy see Senate 
Report 1275, 75th Cong, i Sess. Investigation of Executive Agencies of 
the Government [Byrd Committee]. Preliminary Report of the Select 
Committee to Investigate the Executive Agencies of the Government. . . . 
Washington, 1937. For plans in the event of war see Industrial Mobiliza- 
tion Plan, Washington, 1936 and the 1939 revision; also literature on May 
Bill (1938) and Lee Bill (1939). Also Leo M. Cherne, Adjusting Your 
Business to War. New York: Tax Research Institute of America, 1939; 
Rose M. Stein, M-Day. New York: Harcourt, 1936; Larry Nixon (editor), 
When War Comes. New York: Greystone, 1939. 

Page 343. May Bill: H.R. 9064. 

Page 344. Chart reproduced through courtesy of AIC Library. 

Page 345. Comment (summary of argument) on Section 6 of May Bill: 
House Report 1870. 75th Cong. 3 Sess. pp. 24-6. 

Lee Bill: S. 1650. 




Ackerman, F. E., 244, 321, 322 
Adams, Herbert, 102 
Adams, Samuel Hopkins, no, 119, 

Adcock, C. P., 267 

Addams, Jane, 30 

Adjutant General's Office, 168 

Advertising Division, 72, 96, 97, 99, 

105, 109 

Advocate of Peace, 165 
Agence Havas, 240, 332 
Agricultural Publishers Association, 


Agriculture, Department of, 97 
Aircraft Production, Bureau of, 1 50 
Alarcon, Mariano, 269 
Alcock, W. F., 274 
Aliens, see Foreign Born, 232 
Allen, Frank Hardee, ix 
Allin, C. D., 160 
Alsberg, Henry, 315 
Altamira, Rafael, 268, 269 
Altrocchi, Rudolph, 244, 287, 289 
Altschul, Charles, 165 
Aluminum Cooking Utensil Com- 

pany, 99 
American Alliance for Labor and 

Democracy, 70, 189-91, 193, 

195-8, 206, 208, 209 
American Association of Advertis- 

ing Agencies, 96 
American Association of Teachers 

of Journalism, 28 

American Banker's Association, 1 34 
American Book Company, 180 
American Chamber of Commerce, 

American Defense Society, 9 

American Federation of Labor, 23, 
185, 190, 206, 208, 290, 302 

American Friends of German De- 
mocracy, 218 

American Friends of the German 
Republic, 216, 217 

American-Hungarian Loyalty 
League, 223, 224, 225, 228 

American Labor Mission, 295 

American Library Association, 185 

American News, 244 

American Newspaper Publishers As- 
sociation, 28 

American Peace Society, 165, 166 

American Press, 97 

American Protective League, 83 

American Rights League, 27 

American School Peace League, 166 

American Union Against Militar- 
ism, 23, 24 

American Weekly, 86 

American Woodworking Machin- 
ery Company, 197 

Amidon, Charles F., 44 

Anderson, William, 160, 171 

Arabic, 128 

Argentina, 246 

Argentina, CPI in, 245 

Armament, French Ministry of, 86 

Armed Ship Bill, 27 

Army Bulletins, 125 

Arnheim, Victor H., 190 

Arnold, Perry, 244, 297, 298, 330 

Artists, 102 

Ashurst, Henry Fountain, 37 

Associated Advertising Clubs of the 
World, 96 

Associated Business Papers, 97 

Associated Press, 329, 330 


Association of National Advertisers, 

9 6 

Atrocity stories, 12, 13, 123 

Atwater, Henry, 67, 206 

Auleta, Vincent, 244 

Austria, 246 

Austria-Hungary, Penetration of 

propaganda into, 257-62 
Avanti, 291 
Aydelotte, Frank, 183 
Aylward, William J., 106 

BABSON, CLIFFORD W., 198, 199, 

200, 208 

Babson, Roger W., 70, 94, 95, 191, 


Babson Institute, 95 
Bagley, William C., 177, 182 
Bakemen, George, 308, 312 
Baker, George Barr, 63 
Baker, Newton D., 49, 50, 51, 150, 

162, 300 
Baker, Ray Stannard, 61, 150, 153, 


Balch, Emily Green, 30 

Balderston, John L., 244, 297, 298 

Baldwin, M. D., 205 

Baltimore Sun, 32 

Bara, Theda, 131, 135, 311 

Barrett, John, 323 

Bass, John, 243 

Bates, Blanche, 57 

Batten, George, 96 

Beach, Rex, no 

Beard, Charles A., 5, 172, 177 

Beck, James M., 219 

Becker, Carl L., 168, 172 

Belgian Legation, 127 

Benington, Arthur, 244 

Benson, William F., 88 

Berg, Clare de Lissa, 1 37 

Berger, Victor L., 43, 196 

Bernays, Edward L., 239, 245, 321, 

322, 332 

Bernhardi, Friedrich, 171 
Bernstein, Herman, 305, 307 
Bernstorff, Count von, 21, 25 

Bertran, Samuel R., 302 

Bestor, Arthur E., 72, 126 

Bielaski, A. B., 222 

Bjorkman, Edwin, 220, 221, 226, 

229, 279-81 

Black Tom Explosion, 144 
Blair, William McCormick, 72, 

118, 120 

Blankenhorn, Heber, 245, 249 
Blashfield, E. H., 102 
Blocker, William P., 328 
Blue Devils, 128 
Blumenthal, Charles, 226 
Bohn, Frank, 217, 230, 244, 261, 


Bonaschi, Albert, 220 

Boston Post, 132 

Bowles, George, 140 

Boy Scouts of America, 185 

Boyd, William Y., 321 

Brace, A. M., 244, 274, 295 

Brady, William A., 118, 134, 135, 

i5 6 ^57 

Brazier, Marion H., 170 

Brazil, CPI in, 245 

Breed, Donald L., no 

Brest-Li tovsk Treaty, 281, 301, 306 

Briand, Aristide, 334 

Briggs and Stratton Electrical Spe- 
cialties, 202 

British Information Service, 282 

British War Mission, 127 

Brisbane, Arthur, 37, 80 

Brown, L. Ames, 72, no 

Brown, William Adams, 307, 311, 

Brown Brothers, 153 

Brulatour, Jules E., 74, 142, 243 
Bruntz, George G., 218, 249 
Bryan, William Jennings, 117, 166, 

Bucher, A. J., 164 

Buckeye Steel Castings Company, 


Buffington, Joseph, 175, 215 
BufEngton, Ora, 12 

[ 3 6o] 

Bullard, Arthur, 244, 301, 303, 304, 
305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 311, 

3 12 > 3*3 
Burleson, Albert S., 41 

Bush, S. P., 201 

Business Management Division, 67 
Butler, Ellis Parker, no 
Butler, Nicholas Murray, 26 
Byoir, Carl, xi, 3-4, 66, 72, 73, 94, 
97, 105, no, 136, 148, 149, 188, 
191, 197, 199, 200, 201, 206, 
218, 223, 332 

Cameron, William J., 193 
Campbell, R. M., 326 
Capital, 196-210 

Carnegie Endowment for Interna- 
tional Peace, 26, 166 
Carnegie Institute of Technology, 


Carnegie Institution, 183 

Cartoonists, Weekly Bulletin for, 

7 2 
Cartoons, 105 

Cartoons, Bureau of, 72, 108-9 

Caruso, Enrico, 322 

Casey, Frank De Sales, 102 

Castle, Irene, 143, 144 

Catt, Carrie Chapman, 73 

Censorship, n, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 
24, 28, 36, 37, 38, 39, 42, 45, 46, 
47, 78, 79-80, 81, 82, 85, 156 

Censorship Board, 20, 44, 46, 80, 
84, 297 

Central America, 244-5 

Chafec, Zechariah, Jr., 44 

Chaix, Commandant, 258 

Chambers, Ernest J., 143, 145 

Chamberlain Bill, 115 

Chamberlain, George Agnew, 329 

Chaplin, Charles, 142, 151 

Chatterton, Ruth, 131 

Chautauquas, 127 

Chavez, Dennis, 340 

Chenery, William L., 208 

Chester, C. L., 140 

Chicago Herald, 90, 246 

Chicago Herald and Examiner, 69 

Chicago National Security Council, 


Chicago Tribune, 24, 66 

Chicago Union League Club, 210 

Children in Bondage, 57 

Chile, CPI in, 245 

China, CPI in, 244 

Christian Science Monitor, 15 

Church, S. H., 15 

Churches, 26 

Churchill, Maryborough, 86, 87, 

150, 245, 290 
Churchill, William, 68 
Chykin, Joseph, 190 
Civic and Educational Cooperation, 

Division of, 68, 101, in, 158-86, 

1 93 
Clark, S. H., 16, 119 

Clarkin, Franklin, 312 

Clarkson, Grosvenor, 13, 190 

Clawson, Elliot J., 151 

Clemenceau, Georges, 293 

Cleveland Plain Dealer, 129 

Cobb, Frank, 15, 222 

Cochrane, R. H., 149 

Cohan, George M., 131 

Collier's Magazine, 66, 208, 333 

Collins, James, no 

Collins, Seward B., 244, 272 

Colorado Fuel and Iron Co., 205 

Comite* des Forges, 293 

Committee on Public Information, 
Congressional attitude toward, 
60-1; creation of, 4, 48-52; 
finances of, 67, 92, 126, 129, 141, 
160, 223, 280; organization of, 
48, 65-74, 96-130, 133-86; pub- 
lications Of, 120-1, l6o, 191-3, 

220, 316; records of, vii; salaries 

in, 67 

Commons, John R., 196 
Commonwealth Steel Company, 

188, 198, 200, 201 
COMPUB, 277, 289, 292, 298, 

^ 2 > 333 

Conference Committee on Nation- 
al Preparedness, 197 

Congress of Oppressed Peoples of 
Austria-Hungary, 257 

Connor, Robert D. W., 96, 183 

Contracts, 196 

Coolidge, Archibald C., 183 

Coolidge, Calvin, 43, 93 

Correspondencia, La, 270 

Corwin, Edward S., 172 

Cosmopolitan Magazine, 66 

Coss, John }., 171 

Cotillo, S. A., 244, 289 

Coughlin, C. L., 202 

Coulomb, Charles A., 180 

Council of National Defense, 72, 
92,97, 115, 127, 149, 189, 190 

Courtivron, Marquis and Marquise 
de, 128 

Coxe, Russell L., 175 

Crane, Charles R., 302 

Crawford, Arthur W., 90 

Creel, George, vii, ix, xi, 10, 16, 17, 
18, 33, 44, 46, 47, 48, 52, 54-5, 

57-9> 73' 77' 8o > 8 3> 8 4> 9 2 > 97> 
101, 111, 135, 136, 142, 148, 

149, 150, 153, 156, 157, 158, 
159, 170, 177, 191, 193, 195, 
196, 197, 208, 210, 213, 214, 

215, 2l6, 217, 2l8, 22O, 221, 

222, 223, 224, 227, 229, 230, 

231, 235, 236, 241, 242, 251, 

26l, 264, 275, 279, 286, 287, 

289, 290, 291, 294, 297, 298, 

301, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 

316, 317, 319, 320, 322, 323, 

324, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 

337; 33 8 > 339' 34 6 ; appointed 
chairman, 4, 11, 49, 50, 51; atti- 
tude of toward censorship, 11, 
28; criticism of, 11-12, 13; influ- 
ence of on Censorship Board, 20; 
post-war career, 74 

Crocker, F. C., 322 

Crosley, Walter S., 268 

Crow, Carl, 244 

Crozier, William, 197 

Cuddihy, R. J., 15 
Culberson, Charles A., 24 
Cummins, Albert B., 29 
Cummins, H. A. C., 323, 324 
Curley, James M., 224 
Current History, 41 
Curtis and Company, 197 
Curzon, Lord, 298 
Cusack, Thomas, 96 
Czernin, Count Ottokar, 172 

D.O.R.A., see Defense of the Realm 

Dahlstrom Metallic Door Com- 
pany, 201 
Daniels, Josephus, xi, 28, 49, 51, 

D'Annunzio, Gabrielle, 259 

Dansey, Major, 319-20 

D'Arcy, William, 96 

Darrow, Clarence, 166 

Davis, Malcolm, 244, 307, 311 

Davis, William Stearns, 160, 180 

Davison, Henry P., 118 

Dayton-Wright Company, 150 

De Lima, Arthur, 326 

Debs, Eugene V., 43 

Decker, Burton C., 266, 268 

Defense of the Realm Act, 34 

Democrata, El, 325, 330 

Denmark, CPI in, 244, 279-82 

Denver Post, 54, 55 

Deutsches Wort, 276 

Diamond Forging and Manufactur- 
ing Company, 202 

Dickinson, C. R., 199, 200 

Dixon, Frederick, 15 

Dodd, William E., 183 

Domestic Section, 68-73 

Dorsey, George A., 268 

Doubleday, Page & Company, 96 

Douglas, Charles E., xi 

Downey, Fairfax, 104 

Draft, Selective, 115 

duPont de Nemours & Company, 
E. L, 200 

Duncan, James, 302 


Dunn, Harvey, 106 
Durant, Kenneth, 90 
Dutcher, George M., 185 


Eastman Kodak Company, 96 

Eaton, Horace A., 30 

Eddystone Ammunition Plant, 33, 


Edgell, G. H., 243, 245, 258, 259 
Editor & Publisher, 28, 90, 324 
Education, Bureau of, 183 
Educational Institutions, 158-63 
Eight-Hour Law, 196 
Emergency Council on Education, 

Emergency Peace Federation, 25, 

~ 33 

Employment Service, 189 

Emporia Gazette, 337 
England, CPI in, 244, 296-9 
Enright, Walter J., 106 
Ericsson, John, League of Patriotic 

Service, 8 
Erskine, John, no 
Espionage, 15, 22, 33, 37, 38/39 
Espionage Act, 19, 20, 36, 37, 41, 

42, 43, 44, 45, 80, 147-8, 153, 

21 5 
Espionage Bill, 1917, 24, 33, 34, 

tf, 38 

Everybody's Magazine, 56, 64, 145 
Executive Division, 66, 70, 108 
Exhibitor's Trade Review, 132, 134, 


Fairbanks, Douglas, 135 

Farm, Stock and Home, 85 

Farrar, Geraldine, 132, 311 

Fay, Sidney B., 172 

Fayant, Frank, 244 

Federal Register, 96 

Fife, George B., 244, 277 

Film Division, 68, 69, 131, 136-53 

Finland, CPI in, 281 

Finnish Information Bureau, 315 

First National Pictures Company, 

1 37^53 

Fisk Rubber Company, 199 

Foley, L. B., 214 

Food Administration, 92, 97, 100, 

118, 127 

Foote, George C., 225 

Ford, Guy Stanton, 5, 68, 77, 92, 
136, 158, 159, 161, 167, 175, 
177, 180, 181, 183, 185, 196, 

Ford, Henry, 322 

Ford Motor Company of Canada, 

Foreign-born citizens, 213-32 

Foreign Film Division, 74, 137, 
141, 239, 242, 243 

Foreign-Language Information Ser- 
vice, 232 

Foreign-Language Newspaper Divi- 
sion, 68, 228 

Foreign-language press, 45 

Foreign Press Bureau, 74, 77, 239, 
242, 243, 331 

Foreign Section, 73-4, 155, 220, 

235-334, 339 . 
Foster, Maximilian, 91, 145, 244, 

273, 278 
Four-Minute Men, 72, 112, 113-30, 

18^, 189, 19^, 339 
Four-Minute Men Bulletin, 116, 

119, 127 

Four-Minute Men News, 115 
Fox, Albert W., 88 

Fox, Edward Lyell, 146, 148 

Fox, William, 135 

France, CPI in, 244, 292-6 

Frankfurter, Felix, 202 

Frayne, Hugh, 190 

Frederick, f. E., 201 

Free-Speech League of America, 30 

Freie Zeitung, 276, 277 

French High Commission, 127 

Frey, John P., 206 

Friends of German Democracy, 8, 

127, 217, 218, 219, 228, 230, 

244, 261 


Friends of Irish Freedom, 30 
Frost, Wesley, 128-9 
Fryatt, Charles, 84 
Fuel Administration, 97, 100 

Gallatin, Albert E., 106 
Card, Warren, 36 
Card Amendment, 36, 38, 39 
Garfield, Harry A., 1 56 
Garner, James Wilford, 165 
Garrett, John Work, 244, 282, 297 
Gaumont Film Company, 138, 293, 


Gauss, Christian, 185 
Gay, Jose M., 272 
Gaylord, W. R., 190, 196 
General Staff, U.S., 341 
Gerard, James W., 152, 275, 292 
German-American Alliance, 25, 

213, 218 
German-American Organizations, 

2 5 
German-Americans, 214-21 

German-Bolshevik Conspiracy, 317- 

German propaganda, 145, 146 

German Social Democrats, 290 

German Whisper, 66 

Germany, Penetration of propagan- 
da into, 251-7, 260-2 

Gerson, Armand J., 180 

Gibbons, Herbert Adams, 293, 294 

Gibson, Charles Dana, 71, 77, 101, 
102, 104, 106, 242, 338 

Gibson, Hugh, 172, 243, 244, 252, 

2 53> 2 55> 2 5 8 > 26 5> 2 95 35 
Gilbert, Cass, 102 
Glaman, Otto, 308 
Glenn, Bess, xi 
Goebbels, Paul Joseph, 340 
Goethals, George W., 88 
Goldman, Emma, 33 
Goldstein, Robert, 147 
Gompers, Samuel, 43, 71, 166, 190, 

191;, 196, 208, 290 
Good Housekeeping Magazine, 144 

Grannon, Ryley, 87 
Grasselli, T. S., 203 
Grasselli Chemical Company, 203 
Greene, Evarts B., 164, 168, 183 
Gregory, W. D., 45, 218, 227 
Griffis, C. N., 245, 322 
Griffith, D. W., 135, 147, 307 
Grissom, Arthur, 52 
Grover, Oliver Dennett, 102 
Guest, Edgar A., 188 
Gutmann, James, 171 


Halloran, Charles T., 23 

Hand, Learned, 44 

Hanover Film Company, 132 

Hansi (cartoonist), 252 

Hard, William, 325 

Harding, Samuel B., 159, 160, 167, 

172, 182, 185 

Harding, Warren G., 10, 43, 93 
Ham, O. C., 96 
Harper, Samuel N., 316 
Harris and Ewing, 153 
Hart, Charles S., 69, 136, 148, 156, 

!57> 33 2 
Hartford Courant, 32 

Hatrick, E. B., 244, 292 

Haus und Herd, 164 

Haynes, J. B., 197 

Haywood, William D., 16, 17, 43 

Hazen, Charles D., 162 

Hearley, John H., 244, 288, 290, 

291, 332 

Hearst, William R., 146, 148, 150 
Hearst papers, 143, 144 
Hearst-Pathe' Film Company, 138, 

Hearst's International Magazine, 


Hearst's Magazine, 136 
Hecker, Walter C., 197, 200 
Hecht, George J., 109 
Heinecke, Dr., 277 
Heller, Otto, 217, 230 
Henderson, Arthur, 210 
Hertling, Georg F. von, 172 


Hetherlin, A. C., 197 

Hexamer, C. ]., 25 

History Teacher's Magazine, 164, 


Hitchcock, Gilbert M., 27 
Hittinger, Joseph H., 70 
Hoagland, H. C., 244, 289, 294 
Hodkinson Picture Company, 140 
Hoffman, Frederick L., 217 
Hoke, George W., 206 
Holder, Arthur E., 23, 30 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 44 
Hoover, Herbert, 85, 118, 156, 172 
House, Edward Mandell, 284 
Houston, Herbert S., 96 
Howard, C. H., 198, 200, 201, 206 
Howard, Edward Percy, 97 
Howard, Roy W., 15 
Howe, Fred, 178 
Hrdlicka, Ales v , 3 
Hughes, Rupert, 61 
Hughes, Hugh J., 85 
Hungarian-Americans, 222 
Hungarian Loyalty League, 225 
Hunt, Henry T., xi, 15 
Hutchins, R. G., 306 

ICKES, HAROLD L., 173, 195, 224, 


Igoe, William L., 30 
Illinois Council of Defense, 195 
Ince, Thomas H., 135 
Independent, 53, 54 
Industrial Information Bureau, 206 
Industrial Mobilization Plan, 342 
Industrial Relations, Division of, 

70, 180,, 191 
Industrial Workers of the World, 

l6 >43 
Ingersoll, William H., 72, 120 

Inman, Harry, 313 

Inter-Allied Committee for Propa- 
ganda into Enemy Countries, 
245-6, 256, 259 

International Film Service Corpora- 
tion, 146 

International Harvester Corpora- 
tion, 322 

International Labor Office, 334 
Irwin, Wallace, xi, 107, no 
Irwin, Will, 73, 220, 235, 245, 252, 
253, 255, 256, 269, 271, 280, 

292, 293, 294, 295, 307, 311 
Italian Embassy, 127 

Italy, CPI in, 244, 286-92 



Jameson, J. Franklin, 172, 183, 316 
Jewel Productions, 151 
Joffre, Joseph, 295 
John Ericsson League of Patriotic 

Service, 226 

Johns, William H., 72, 77, 96, 105 
Johnson, Hiram, 37 
Johnstone, F. B., 210 
Jones, Francis C., 102 
Jones, Guernsey, 171 
Jones, Lewis B., 96 
Jordan, David Starr, 25, 219 
Julian, Rupert, 151 
fusserand, Jules, 277 
Justice, Department of, 16, 20, 

43> 45> 4 6 8 3> 8 4> 8 9> X 49> ^ 

217, 222, 223, 275 

KAHN, OTTO, 164, 217, 218 
Kansas City World, 52 
Kaupas, Julius B., 220 
Keck, C. E., 180 
Keeley, James, 243, 246, 258, 261 
Kennaday, Paul, 238, 283, 292 
Keppel, Frederick P., 178 
Kerensky, Alexander, 300 
Kerney, James, 59, 244, 252, 292, 

293, 294, 295 
King, William H., 213 
Kirby, William F., 29 
Kirby Amendment, 80 
Kirby, Rollin, 64 
Kitchin, Claude, 61 
Klein, Arthur f., 71 
Klumph, A. C., 161 


Koettgen, Julius, 215, 217, 218, 219, 

220, 228, 230, 231 

Kokomo Steel and Wire Company, 


Konta, Alexander, 220, 222, 223, 

224, 225, 230, 231 
Koons, J. C., 78 
Kotzenabe, C., 164 
Kradyna, Ludwik, 220 
Krey, August C., 171, 172 

LABOR, 26, 188-212, 225 

Labor and Democracy, American 
Alliance for, 70, 189, 190, 191, 
193, 195, 196, 197, 198, 206, 208, 

Labor Bulletins, 193 

Labor Department, 94, 97, 127, 

189, 202-3, 206, 208 

Labor Publications, Division of, 71, 

190, 195, 196, 208 

Labor Statistics, Bureau of, 193 

Laemmle, Carl, 135 

LaFollette, Robert M., Sr., 27 

LaGuardia, Fiorello, 34, 244, 287 

Lamar, W. H., 215 

Lamont, Thomas W., 16, 17, 315 

Lamson-Scribner, Frank, 70 

Lane, Franklin K., 43, 162 

Lansing, Robert, 51, 164, 277 

Lasky, Jesse L., 135 

Lasswell, Harold D., viii, 249 

Latin America, CPI in, 244 

Lauder, Harry, 199 

Lawrence, David, 96 

League to Enforce Peace, 9, 166 

Lectures, 126 

Lee, Clayton D., 67 

Lee, Ivy, 322 

Lee, Josh, 345 

Lehmann, F. W., 164 

Leicht, Gretchen, 109 

Leiserson, William M., 229 

Leland, Waldo G., 183 

Lemp, William J., 222 

Lenin, Nicolai, 300, 301, 317 

Leslie's Magazine, 218 

Lester, George G., 146, 147 

Lewis, Read, 244, 305, 308, 309, 

Lewis, W. H., 244 

Liberty Loan, 97, 100, 105, 116, 
125, 128, 134, 135, 156, 203, 
209, 330 

Lichnowsky Memoir, no 

Lindsey, Ben B., 55, 57 

Lingelbach, William E., 183, 185 

Lippmann, Walter, 245, 258 

Literary Digest, 24, 25, 26, 32, 33-4, 

Literary societies, 127 

Lithuanian Bureau, 244 

Lodge, Henry Cabot, 88 

Loew, Marcus, 135 

Long, Frank E., 99 

Los Angeles Times, 31 

Lovette, Leland P., 341 

Lowry, E. G., 297 

Loyalty Leaflets, 175 

Loyalty League, American-Hungari- 
an, 8 

Lusitania, 69, 128, 129, 152 

Lyons, Maurice F., 66 

McAooo, WILLIAM G., 134, 135, 

156, 340 
McConaughy, John W., 68, 90, 91, 


McCormick, Cyrus, 191, 302 
McCormick, Medill, 115 
McFarland, Russell, 198, 199, 201, 


McFarlane, Arthur E., no 
Mclntyre, Frank, 78 
McKinley, Albert E., 180 
McLaughlin, Andrew C., 162 
McLean, Edward B., 87 
McReynolds, Frederick W., 71 
Madden, Martin B., 34 
Maddox, R. L., 20 
Maisel, Robert, 70, 71, 190, 208 
Maloney, William J., 283, 284 
Marburg, Theodore, 166 

[ 3 66] 

Marion, Frank J., 244, 264, 266, 
267, 268, 271, 272, 273, 274, 
286, 287 

Markham, Edwin, 54, 57 

Markus, Alfred, 220 

Marshall, Thomas, 127 

Martin, Frederick Roy, 28 

Masaryk, Thomas, 231, 261 

Mason, C. H., 309 

Masters, G. L. R., 1 54 

Matthews, Arthur T., 102 

Maxim, Hudson, 132 

May, Andrew Jackson, 343 

Merchant ships, Legislation to arm, 

Merriam, Charles E., 244, 287, 288, 
289, 290, 291 

Merritt and Chapman Derrick 
Company, 214 

Merz, Charles, 165, 245 

Metropolitan Magazine, 325 

Mexican News Bureau, 329 

Mexico, CPI in, 245, 323 

Military Intelligence, viii, 15, 20, 
46, 61, 86, 87, 146, 150, 189, 
237, 238, 239, 245, 246, 249, 
250, 253, 255, 262, 263, 272, 
277, 281, 282, 287, 289, 290, 
293, 297, 309, 311, 326, 341 

Millis, Walter, 5 

Milner, Alfred, 298 

Minneapolis Civic and Commerce 
Association, 161 

Missouri Malleable Iron Company, 

Mladineo, Peter, 220 

Molders Journal, 206 

Monahan, L. J., 202 

Mongolia, 79 

Moore, John D., 23, 30 

Mooser, George, 245, 324 

Morgan, Dick Thompson, 35 

Morgan, E. V., 245, 321 

Morgan, J. P., 26 

Morgan, Wallace, 106 

Morgenthau, Henry, Sr., 153 

Morning Post (London), 298 

Morris, Roland S., 312 

Morrison, Martin A., 71 

Moses, Kingsley, 244, 287 

Mostowski, B. F., 244 

Motion Pictures, 43, 131-57, 242-3, 

272, 281, 293-5, 34> 35> 37> 

309, 311 
Motion Picture Industry, National 

Association of, 118, 157 
Motor, 144 
Motor Boating, 144 
Mott, John R., 302 
Moving Picture World, 141 
Mueller, O. B., 205 
Mueller Metals Company, 205 
Mundell, Mrs. William A., 72 
Mundo, EJ, 270 

Munro, Dana Carleton, 172, 183 
Munsey's Magazine, 90 
Murray, Mae, 131 
Murray, Robert H., 245, 323, 324, 

326, 327, 328, 329, 331 
Mutual Pictures Company, 138 


National Academy of Design, 102 
National Americanization Commit- 
tee, 210 

National Archives, viii, ix, 150 
National Association of Manufac- 
turers, 190, 205, 207 
National Bank of Commerce, 306 
National Board for Historical Ser- 
vice, 158, 185, 316 
National City Bank, 322 
National Conference of American 

Lecturers, 127 

National Education Association, 182 
National School Service, 68 
National Security League, 9, 13, 173 
Naval Intelligence, 20, 46,271, 302, 

326, 341 

Naval Oil Leases, 62 
Naval Operations, Chief of, 341 
Navarro, Romero, 244, 271, 272 
Navy Department, 77, 79, 85, 153, 
206, 240, 341, 345 


Navy League, 9 
Neal, Jesse H., 96 
Nearing, Scott, 43 
Neel, John D., 93 
Nelson, Bertram G., 1 30 
Nester, Byron M., 244 
Netherlands, CPI in, 244, 282 
New Freedom Society of America, 


New Republic, 57, 89, 165, 333 
News Division, 68, 73, 77, 89, 90, 

91, 92, 96, 111, 208 
New York American, 146 
New York Call, 333 
New York Evening Mail, 90 
New York Evening Post, 16, 24, 43, 

88, 314, 315 
New York Federation of Churches, 


New York Herald, 305 
New York Journal, 52 
New York Sun, 27, no 
New York Times, 31, 39, 40,41, 59, 

60, 64, 102, 105, 165, 170, 314 
New York World, 15, 32, 222 
Newspapers, see Press 
Nicholson, Meredith, no 
Nock, Albert J., 304 
Notestein, Wallace, 171 
Northcliffe, Lord, 298 
Norton, Phil, 244, 313 
Norway, CPI in, 279 
Nulsen, F. E., 203 
Nuorteva, Santeri, 315, 316 
Nye Committee, 5 


Odell, Joseph H., 175 

Official Bulletin, 68, 92, 93, 94, 95, 


Official War Review, 138, 141 
O'Hare, Kate Richards, 43 
O'Higgins, Harvey, 5, 66, 72, no 
Oland, Warner, 143, 144 
Oliver Machinery Company, 205 
Omaha World-Herald, 32 

Ordnance Department, 136, 199, 


O'Reilly, P. S., 330 
Overman, Lee S., 22, 24 


Paderewski, Ignace, 221 

Page, Thomas Nelson, 244, 287, 290 

Page, Walter Hines, 319 

Palmer, Eric H., 244, 279, 280, 281 

Palmer, Frederick, 243, 244, 251, 
252, 292 

Panama, CPI in, 245 

Panov, B. A., 317 

Papen, Franz von, 146 

Paramount-Bray Pictograph, 1 39 

Parker, Sir Gilbert, 90 

Patchin, Philip, 148, 317, 319 

Pathe Company, 137, 139, 143, 294 

Patterson, T. M., 55 

Paxson, Frederic L., 172 

"Pay-Envelope Stories," 191 

Peace Conference, 95, 231, 235, 
264, 284, 299, 332, 333 

Pearson's, 56 

Peixotto, Ernest C., 106 

Pennell, Joseph, 102, 106 

Perigord, Paul, 128 

Perry, Paul, 244, 297, 322 

Pershing, John J., 87, 106, 128, 284, 

Peru, CPI in, 245 

Petrograd Press Bureau, 301 

Petti John, J. J., 126, 182 

Pew, Marlen E., 90 

Philadelphia Public Ledger, 31, 221 

Philadelphia Record, 343 

Phillips Sheet and Tin Plate Com- 
pany, 205 

Phillips, William, 229, 276 

Photographic Association, 153 

Photographs, 153-5 

Pickford, Mary, 135, 142, 311 

Pictorial Publicity, Division of, 71-2, 

Picture Division, 68, 74, 153 

Pinchot, Amos, 17 

[ 3 68] 

Pittsburgh Post, 31 
Pittsburgh Press Club, 83 
Polignac, Marquis and Marquise de, 


Polk, Frank, 297 
Poole, DeWitt Clinton, 309 
Poole, Ernest, 74, 77, 241, 301, 304, 

321, 331, 338 
Post, Louis F., 164 
Post Office Department, 20, 80, 

21 5 
Powell, E. Alexander, 246, 249 

Preciado, A. A., 245, 322 

Press, 28-34, 40, 41, 43, 62, 77, 83, 
84, 86, 88, 90, 215-16, 229, 276, 

Press censorship, 28, 29 

Press, Regulations for the, 81-3 

Price, Raymond B., 214 

Production and Distribution, Divis- 
ion of, 67 

Propaganda into enemy countries, 

"Psychological Estimates" of MIB, 

Publications, Division of, 153 

Publications of CPI, 220 

Public Relations Administration, 

Public Relations Branch, 341 

Putnam, George Haven, 219 

RADIO, 270 

Railroad Brotherhoods, 26 

Raine, William MacLeod, 72, no 

Rassieur, Leo, 164 

Red Cross, 97, 100, 116, 118, 125, 

127, 185, 287, 289, 315 
Red Cross Mission to Russia, 303 
Red, White and Blue Series, 162, 

167, 170, 181 
Reed, John, 30 
Reilly, Leigh, 68, 90, 208 
Remington Typewriter Company, 


Renault, Louis, 293, 294 
Reuterdahl, Henry, 105 
Reuters News Bureau, 240, 283, 332 
Rickey, H. N., 73, 220, 235, 244, 

282, 295, 296, 297, 313, 326 
Riis, Edward, 281, 282, 332 
Rinehart, Mary Roberts, no, in 
Robinette, E. B., 244, 279 
Robins, Raymond, 315, 316 
Robinson, Herman, 190 
Robinson, James Harvey, 177 
Roche, Josephine, 73,220,228,232, 

2 57 
Rochester, E. S., xi, 68, 93, 94, 95 

Rocky Mountain News, 32, 55, 56, 

57, 208 

Rodionoff, Nicholas R., 317 
Roe, Gilbert E., 30 
Rogers, Walter S., 238, 251, 295, 

2 97> 333 
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 49, 291 

Roosevelt, Theodore, 26, 88, 325 

Root, Elihu, 175, 302 

Root Mission, 296, 303 

Rosemeier, Hermann, 276 

Rosten, Leo, 90 

Rotary Clubs, 127, 161 

Roz, Firman, 293 

Rubel, Lawrence, xi, 154 

Russau, Hans, 164 

Russell, Charles Edward, 244, 256, 

286, 296, 298, 302 
Russell, John, 244, 296 
Russell, William Fletcher, 312 
Russia, CPI in, 244, 300-18 
Russian Cooperative Union, 313 
Russian News-Letter, 305 
Ryerson, Donald, 72, 114, 115,116, 

118, 120 

St. Louis Republic, 176 
San Francisco Chronicle, 31 
San Francisco Examiner, 86 
Sanger, Margaret, 56 
Saperston, Alfred M., 72, 108 
Schaefer, Richard, 218 


Scandinavian Americans, 226 

Scenario Department, 69, 139, 140 

Schenck, Joseph M., 135 

Schenck v. United States, 44 

Scherer, James A. B., 149 

Schick, Mary E., 71 

Schiff, Jacob, 217 

Schlegel, Charles J., 217 

Schlieben, Hans, 276 

Schuman, Frederick L., 317 

Schwimmer, Rozika, 278 

Scott, Foresman and Company, 180 

Scott, George Winfield, 165 

Searson, James W., 159, 182 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 32 

Secret Service, 144 

Sedition Act of 1798, 21-2, 34 

Sedition Act of 1918, 45, 80 

Seldes, George, 190 

Sellery, George C., 172 

Selznick, Louis J., 135 

Semenov, Eugenie P., 317 

Service Bureau, 71 

Sevier, H. H., 245 

Shaw, Dr. Anna Howard, 73 

Sherman, Stuart P., 165 

Shipping Board, 97 

Shotwell, James, 159, 183 

Shuster, E. H., 332 

Siciliani, Colonel, 256 

Sigel, Franz, 164, 217 

Signal Corps, 69, 136, 138, 140, 

149, 153, 155, 243, 251 
Silver Bell, 85 
Sills, Milton, 143 
Sims, W. S., 297 
Sinclair, Upton, 33 
Singer, Caroline, 72 
Singer Sewing Machine Company, 


Sioussat, St. George L., 172 
Sisson, Edgar, 5, 66, 73, 148, 208, 

210, 220, 235, 244,245,255,271, 
272, 273, 278, 280, 28l, 297, 
298, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 
309, 312, 314, 315, 3l6, 318, 

319, 331, 332, 333 

"Sisson Documents," 88, 167, 221, 


Sleicher, William, 218 
Slides, 124, 155-6 
Slides, Department of, 69, 155 
Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Datus C., Jr., 

Smith, Guy Croswell, 244, 281, 307, 

39> 334 
Smith, J. Andre, 106 

Socialists, 25, 33, 201, 290 

Society of American Artists, 102 

Songs, 124 

Sons of Herman, 218 

Sons of Norway, 226 

Spain, 263 

Spain, CPI in, 244, 264-74 

Spaulding, Albert, 244 

Speakers' Bulletins, 127 

Speaking Division, 72, 126-30, 195 

Sperry, E. E., 173 

Spirit of '76, 43, 147 

Standard Aircraft Corporation, 154 

State Councils of Defense, 117, 

State, Department of, 48, 77, 92, 

128, 153, 229, 265,275,287,295, 

2 97> 35> 3 X 3> 3 l6 > 3 1 ?' 3 21 > 

331, 332, 340 

State Fair Exhibits, Bureau of, 70 
Steele, Rufus, 139 
Stenography and Mimeographing, 

Division of, 67 
Stokes, J. G. Phelps, 190 
Stokes, Rose Pastor, 43 
Stoll, Elmer, 171 
Stone, William J., 27 
Stovall, Pleasant A., 276 
Streseman, Gustav, 334 
Strong, Howard M., 161 
Stuart, Campbell, 256 
Studebaker Motor Corporation, 322 
Summerlin, George T., 324 
Summers, Maddin, 244, 306, 309 
Sunday, Billy, 26 
Supreme Court, 20, 43-4 

[ 37 1 

Suydam, Henry, 244, 256, 282, 283, 

284, 296, 297 

Sweden, CPI in, 244, 263, 279-81 
Swift Packing Company, 322 
Swiss Telegraphic Agency, 277 
Switzerland, CPI in, 244, 275 
Swope, Herbert Bayard, 157 
Syndicate Features, Division of, 72, 

74, 109-10, 145, 241 


Tanguay, Eva, 131 

Tarbell, Edmond C., 102 

Tarbell, Ida, 73 

Tarkington, Booth, no, 173, 297 

Tatlock, John, 155, 166, 167 

Taylor, Clara Sears, 72 

Taylor, Graham, Jr., 305, 306, 307, 


Thatcher, T., 315, 316 
Theaters, 1 1 3 ff. 
Thomas, Norman, 23 
Thompson, William B., 303, 315, 


Thrift Stamps, 197 
Todd, David W., 78, 85 
Toledo Scale Company, 206 
Townsend, Harry, 106 
Trading-with-the-Enemy Act, 20, 

44, 80, 142, 215, 242 
Training Camp Activities, 97 
Treasury Department, 127, 214, 345 
Trenton Times, 292 
Trotsky, Leon, 301, 317 
Tuerk, John, 74, 142, 243 
Tumulty, Joseph P., 12, 43 
Turner, Frederick Jackson, 183 
Tvricka, Anna, 220 
Tynan, Jim, 55 


United States Cartridge Company, 

United States Chamber of Com- 
merce, 128 

United States Bulletin, 95 

United States Daily, 96 
United War Work Drive, 97 
Universal Motor Company, 202 
Universal Picture Company, 138, 

139, 148, 150 
Useless Papers Committee, viii 

VAN DEMAN, R. H., 311 

Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, 251, 


Vance, Louis Joseph, 143, 146 
Verner, S. P., 244, 245, 322 
Victory Loan, 135 
Vigilantes, no 

Villard, Oswald Garrison, 24, 43 
Volk, Douglas, 102 
Vrooman, Carl, 63 

WADE, H. R., 202 
Walberg, Carl, 332 
Walcott, Frederic C., 175 
Walsh, Frank P., 208, 209, 210 
Wanger, Walter F., 243, 258, 259 
War Cooperating Committee, 1^5 
War Department, 77, 97, 149, 164, 
178, 179, 182, 196,197,206,217, 

2 43> 34^ 34 1 ' 345 
War Expositions, Bureau of, 69 
War Industries Board, 156, 157, 

189, 190, 197, 343 
War Information Series, 162, 165, 

i6 7 

War Labor Administration, 189 

War Labor Board, 209, 210 

War Message and the Facts Behind 

It, 67 

War News Digest, 91 
War Office, French, 252 
War Photographs, Bureau of, 69, 

153' 241 

War Savings Stamps, 97, 123 
War Trade Board, 73, 80, 84, 92, 

142, 268, 278, 343 
Washington Herald, 79 
Washington Post, 87, 88, 93 
Wear-Ever Magazine, 99 
Webb, Edwin Yates, 22, 23, ^, -S 

[371 ] 

Webb-Culberson Bill, see Espionage 

Webb-Overman bill, 22-23 

Webster, N. P, 67 

Weekly Bulletin for Cartoonists, 109 

Weeks, George F., 245, 329, 330 

Weinberger, Harry, 30 

Weir, E. T., 205 

Welborn, J. F., 205 

Welles, Roger, 326 

Wellesley Associates, 94, 191, 193 

West, Willis Mason, 173 

Western Newspaper Union, 153 

Western Photoplays Company, 151 

Westman, John A., 201 

Wharton, Leopold, 143 

White, Eugene, xi 

White, William Allen, 337 

Whitehouse Vira B., 244, 255, 275, 
276, 278, 292, 331, 332, 334 

Whitlock, Brand, 172, 328 

Wiegand, H. J., 205 

Wiegand, Wilfred E., 330 

Willard, Joseph E., 266 

Wilson, C. B., 224 

Wilson, Hugh, 276 

W r ilson, William B., 193 

Wilson, Woodrow, viii, 4, 10, 11, 
12, 17, 18, 21, 23, 27, 28, 37, 38, 
39, 47, 48, 50, 56, 79, 80, 88, 
101, 126, 147, 150, 153, 160, 

172, 190, 191, 202, 210, 214, 
2l6, 221, 222, 230,231,240,247, 
26l, 264, 274, 284, 285, 286, 
288, 291, 292, 300, 302, 303, 305, 

314, 323, 332, 334, 339 

Wilson and the Issues, 59 

Winchester Repeating Arms Com- 
pany, 203 

Winters,' Robert, 312 

Wireless-Cable Service, 73, 239, 
241, 242, 243, 244, 251, 295 

Wisconsin Gun Company, 205 

Wolfe, Frank, 191 

Women's Division, Four-Minute 
Men, 124 

Women's Division, Council of Na- 
tional Defense, 72 

Women's Peace Party of America, 

Women's War Work, Division of, 

Wood, Henry A. Wise, 197 

Wood, Lee B., xi 

Wood, Leonard, 9 

Woods, Arthur, 73, 220, 223, 235 

Wooley, R. W., 118 

Work with the Foreign Born, Divis- 
ion of, 68, 73, 217, 219-32, 257, 

World Film Company, 137 

World League for the Restitution 
of Alsace-Lorraine, 226 

World Peace Foundation, 166 

Wright, Chester M., 190, 208, 209, 

Wright, George, 106 

Wright, Irene A., 244, 265, 267, 
268, 269, 271 

Writers, 109-12 

Wyeth, N. C., 105 

Y.M.C.A., 100, 185, 289 

Zukor, Adolph, 135 


America's first propaganda ministry 

Told here for the first time is the unbiased story of the Com- 
mittee on Public Information, the so-called Creel Committee which 
was America's "propaganda ministry" during the World War. And a 
more exciting story would be difficult to find. This is the record of how a 
mighty organization covered all the news of wartime activities at home 
and abroad, helped administer a "voluntary" but effective censorship, and 
mobilized the nation's morale into solid support and understanding of the 
government's aims and purposes. 

George Creel and his famous associates on the Committee "held fast the 
inner lines," reaching the minds and hearts of virtually every American, 
and maintained a far-flung organization of foreign agents to carry the mes- 
sage of Wilson idealism around the world. Here is a great collection of 
unpublished letters, cablegrams, censors' reports, propaganda bulletins, 
etc., with all the drama of that exciting period when bureaus were being 
formed or discarded overnight, and artists, actors, labor leaders and indus- 
trialists were being recruited to help build a national spirit. In their analy- 
sis of this valuable store of material the authors give an entirely new 
conception of how public opinion is marshalled in a democracy at war. 
The Committee's work on the home front is described in detail in its 
many phases of news, pamphlets, books, cartoons, movies, Four-Minute 
Men, and "spontaneous" organizations of the foreign born. One of the 
most interesting chapters shows the use and misuse of "patriotism" in the 
relations of capital and labor. 

The "fight for the mind of mankind" through a worldwide propaganda 
campaign receives its first adequate treatment in this book. All the in- 
volved machinery of so tremendous an undertaking is described in fas- 
cinating detail. Correspondence between the Creel Committee and the 
Military Intelligence reveals their cooperative bombardment of the Ger- 
man population with the paper bullets of propaganda. Interesting side- 
lights are given on the relation of propaganda to "dollar diplomacy" in 
Latin America. 

George Creel, who bore the brunt of the critics' habit of "jumping on 
George," or attacking the Wilson administration through his office, now 
emerges as a more able and admirable figure. In addition to the many 
statesmen and politicians whose letters and memoranda are quoted here 
for the first time, the book gives interesting new information regarding 
famous Americans in many other fields. The pages are studded with such 
names as Guy Stanton Ford, Will Irwin, Charles E. Merriam, Carl Byoir, 
Edgar Sisson, Edward L. Bernays, Arthur Bullard, Roger W. Babson, 
Samuel Gompers, Henry Suydam, Harold L. Ickes, Ernest Poole, Fiorello 
LaGuardia, Charles Dana Gibson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles Merz, 
Josephine Roche, Arthur Woods, and hundreds of others. 

The book is indispensable for historians and is of profound present sig- 
nificance to the general reader.